Well I don't like Tom Cruise. I can tell you exactly when that started. It started when Top Gun just would not go away. For some reason that just irritated the crap out of me at the time. Over time my impression of Tom Cruise as a glorified smirk has just solidified. The rub, though, is that either he or his handlers are great at picking properties. I hate Tom Cruise but I tend to like Tom Cruise movies. How's that for feeling conflicted? The results is generally its like pulling teeth to get me to see a Tom Cruise film and then afterwards I have to concede it was pretty durn good.
Oblivion is pretty durn ok.
It's a beautiful film to watch. The tech reminds one of 2001, the landscapes are both familiar and yet made mournful and mysterious by the destruction. The back story of the film goes something like this.... Tom Cruise is Jack. He's a glorified repairman. His and his ladyfriend's job is to keep drones working as humanity is leaving Earth for Titan. Why are they leaving? Well glad you asked partner, see there was this alien race called "Scavengers" and they decided to throw down on the earth. Their first attack was to to destroy the moon and then they invaded Earth. Now according to Jack we won but the cost was the planet so that's why we are leaving. Jack's sort of hazy on the details because they wiped his memories so that if he falls into scavenger hands they can't get sensitive data. Jack's not too bothered by this, he lives in a nice house gets to have great sex in and out of pool, and gets to play hero from time to time. He's not too bothered at all really, except for this dream....
Ok, I'm going to play nerd here and call bull shit on two parts of this. First off if your job requires having your memory wiped clean I can assure you that you are part of what we call "a hose job." I'm sorry I wouldn't be near as accepting of the scenario if I knew my memory was taken away by the people telling me things. Call me paranoid and I'll wear it with honor. The second thing is this whole move everyone to Titan. Sorry BS, and big time. Sure I'd love to have a colony on Titan, it's good real estate. The best real estate in the solar system is STILL Earth even if you nuked it till it glowed. It has things humans really need like the right gravity, good atmospheric pressure, lots of water that's free. Ok, so we might have to live in domes but look we'd have to do it anyway on Titan. You can't even use the Scavenger as a reason because according to Jack we WON. I mean, he's holding the Eastern seaboard with a couple of drones and WIFI connection. Obviously we could defend ourselves at this point if the story given was true.
Guess what true believers the story is bogus. That's not really a spoiler given that trailer shows Morgan Freeman telling Jack he don't know squidedily. Now there are some twists going on from that point and I'll not say what they are except that one exposes a nightmare of mine I didn't know I had. I guess that's worth a bonus point.
The thing is the film has some interesting ideas, and then some stupid ideas that don't really work when you think about it. It has a lot of action, but about half the action is fairly useless. Sort of a place holder till we get to the big twists.. Tom acts well but his character is written purposefully as a memory wiped cypher, so it's not quite what I would call riveting. It's a good film but it could have been more than good. Given the look of the tech I wish that Kubrick was still around to direct it. I think he could have really taken it to the dark place it needed to go to.
Oh note don't confuse it with Oblivion by Charles Band which was a bad film but a lot more fun to watch.