OBLIVION is Cruise’s third outing as JACK. Tom Cruise plays it very safe in the sci fi, almost thriller Valium yawner Oblivion. Jack is Tech 49, Jack fixes drones that protect Hydro rigs that are draining the Earth’s resources. An alien race has invaded Earth but lost the war leaving Jack and his Communications officer Vic in charge of a devastated planet. Until visitors arrive in Delta sleep waking memories and questions in Jack. With few natural moments of spontaneity from Cruise, it’s not enough to raise this ambitious Sci Fi out of limbo.
All the Cruise-ism’s are here in full swing, Tom is sleep walking through Oblivion. There are a few knee jerk reactions like muscle twitches while you sleep, but mostly Cruise is barely able to stop snorting in his sleep.
See Jack (Cruise) run all out again, this time on a tread mill like a hyper active, muscled hamster. See Jack ride a bike. He even cries out when his bike is stolen. “Not my bike!” This man loves his motorcycle riding shot. See Jack fall, he usually is falling a lot in his movies. See Jack jump, the running jump shot in this movie, not as much fun as the run jump from Mission Impossible 3 but still a decent run jump Cruise-ism.
Luminous dream soaked blue steel sheets and CGI render Oblivion on gloss and lipstick vogue. It’s like a slick candy apple, the more you bite the worse it feels.
Cue dream sequence cliche, mysterious girl in a NY street and Oblivion stumbles to the starting line. After a mind wipe to better enable an “effective team” Jack and his sexy brit, red haired assigned girlfriend/communications companion Vic, start their work day. Vic activates her huge iPad table touch screen with sweeping Tech pron data to support Jack the Tech when he descents to Earth from their high in the sky love nest perch over looking a devastated Earth. Almost looks ideal, if it weren’t for the tragedy hanging over their upside down smiles.
The propaganda is Earth was attacked by aliens called Scavs. After destroying Earth’s moon for it’s resources, causing global devastating natural disasters. Earth fought back with WMD’s near destroying Earth leaving most of it bathed in cook you to death, radiation. The duo protects a trio of humongous upside down triangular Hydro rigs that absorb the oceans water collecting resources to send to a new Earth colony on Titan, a moon off Saturn. Sector 49 is the “effective teams” small portion of the earth left outside the lethal radiation zone.
This is exactly the point when I jump off the honeymooner’s perch. A moon off Saturn, hmm I don’t think so. And the logistics of that being possible is never explained, it hangs in the air tainting scenes with it’s falsehood. It’s easy to see the Tech is having trouble it also.
The CGI of Oblivion is beautifully realistic and so is the design despite the overwhelming white iPod feel stolen from Elysian, who stole it from numerous other sci-fi outings. Isn’t it possible that movie designers can leave the white metallic look behind for a while. At this rate every sci-fi movie in this decade or more will look like the inside of Steve Job’s mind. Let’s go for a purple, light green and subdued orange for the next future look, please.
Jack is smart, too smart. He handles drone maintenance with Vic as his communications officer. A wonderful VTOL personal ship carries Jack over the scarred planet while Hydro rigs drain the earths oceans. Spherical hyper aggressive drones guard the Hydro rigs and Jack repairs the drones. It all links up like it was made to work, only.
Leaving two humans alone on the entire planet, holding off the elusive Scavs and ensuring Titan gets it much needed from Earth for it’s survival opens a huge vacuum of believability. With nothing but demands coming from Command on Titan in the form of old black and white TV like transmissions.
Mission control keeps Vic in line, constantly asking if they are an “effective team” It’s a veiled threat and Vic is extremely dedicated to her position and submission, safe guarding their goal, a 2 week retirement and return to Titan.
A downed drone brings NY baseball capped Jack to the rescue, and how many times has Cruise worn this cap, I think it’s th esame one from War Of The Worlds. Jack is so good at his work that he can salvage a broken drone with bubble gum, in the foreground of an ancient football stadium ruins.
The drones are ultra killing machines, making Hal’s pods from 2001 look like pussycats, though obviously derived from the great historical designs of A Space Odessey. These drones though fast and effective fail to feel threatening, without much character when compared to the sneak attack approach and personality of other movie AI’s.
Tom has it written into all his scripts, there must be a Bike ride, and Oblivion doesn’t disappoint with electric driven two wheeler sprokets over dust bowls, to another downed drone in a sinkhole. Jack’s efficient at his work and dedicated, but is shocked when a beacon from a drone turns into a trap set up by Scav, or are they Scavs? Cloaked and wearing masks, they never really seem alien or threatening. The camera shots miss mystery and fail to be intriguing, considering all that could have been done, it’s all flat, obvious and sadly stale.
Where is the innovation of the 70’s? Ancient Sci-fi classics like Omega man or Logan’s Run render Oblivion oblivious. WIth all the money and CGI of today the scope of the incredible always seems so dumbed down and limited.
Why are the Scav’s in hiding, why don’t they look the least bit alien or threatening? Possibly because they’re not, and of course you already know Morgan Freeman is in the movie, so obviously the Scav’s are not aliens but humans. It’s telegraphed months ahead via the movie poster. Another chasm of yawnathon marathon.
You never get a close look at Scav’s as in most classic alien movies and when Jack seems to have smoothly escaped, Tom briefly breaks his trained movie reaction cues and lets out an enthusiast HA, but is suddenly falling to the ground. His elation cut short. It’s not really a thrill ride and of course Cruise is the missile of the run jump technique and escapes.
“Not my God damn bike”
You can’t steal Cruise’s bike and get away with it, someone has to pay. There are a few interesting new Cruise-isms and it’s fun to watch Cruise break the mold with the occasional unfamiliar reaction shot or naturalism exhumed.
Bring me a Cruise movie where Tom decides to let it all hang out, throw caution to a hurricane, grab the bull by the uhm privates. And deliver a spectacular out of his mind completely uncool spontaneous performance that would be completely cool and relaunch his career into orbit around Uranus.
Blue and white sci-fi colors against Vic’s naked body are invigorating images, but feel hollow. Real estate in the sky with a pool is a tempting mortgage. And Vic knows how to keep her Tech partner happy sexually and working towards her goal of getting off Earth and to Titan despite the obvious truth. Jack doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t want to leave Earth, they won the war why are they leaving? Why has the human race evacuated the Earth?
Boom! Meltdown on a Hydro rig over a blue horizon. Blown up by the Scav’s supposedly, with stolen power cells. Command’s black and white Sally isn’t happy about the loss of the Hydro rig and reprimands Vic with a punitive tone. Oh that was some harsh tone and everyone jumps into action.
It’s all so dreamy, like a cool breeze with a Thorazine injection, only I was angry that I never got the drugs passed out to the cast. It may have made the movie more palatable. Maybe I needed bio-feedback to control my bottom to seat friction ratio.
Jack follows a signal to the buried Empire State building barely exposed above the dunes, which is being used by the Scav’s as antenna to broadcast a signal into space.
“Are you and Jack an effective team?”
“Damn right we are.” Eerie plastered grin on Vic’s face is all fear based, she struggles to keep it together.
The movie compellingly creates a mystery. Why are the drones killing humans? Why is there so little seen of Command other than a small black and white frizzling screen depicting the face of Sally.
Jack’s place of refuge is his hidden isle of nature with his shack of a house, lined with retrieved found treasures, where he plays Led Zeplien wearing his New York baseball cap. What a man, what an American. What an incredibly boring Crusie-ism.
See Jack’s dreams persist and they are about to come back to life when a ship breaks Earth’s orbit, Jack is hot on it’s heels. Though Command demands he stands down.
Down Jack down, but no, not this Jack. He isn’t like the other Jack’s is he? Or is he?
Drones converge on a site of a fallen ship, and Command is adamant about Jack staying away. Ignoring Vic’s demands, Jack defiantly arrives to find human survivors in Delta sleep capsules. In one of them is the girl of his dreams, his wife, the love of his life.
Drone’s appear terminating all survivors except one that Jack bars the pass and uses the drones programming to not shoot Tech 49. The drones kill humans, a telling sign that all is not right.
“Jack Harper Tech 49, Back off you son of a bitch”
60 years in hibernation, waking to a husband that doesn’t recognize you. She listens to Jacks story of Scavs and devastation, in quiet until laughter breaks her subterfuge, she walks away without an explanation.
Memories are not right and Vic says their job is not to eremember, remember? Vic is angry, suspicious. jealous. Hell I would be also, Jack’s wife is beautiful. Even after 60 years in Delta sleep. Waiiit a second, why isn’t Jack about 100 years old? Does anyone ask this, uhm this is something I would want to know.
Finally the leader of the Scav’s arrives, with the answers that Jack doesn’t know he has questions for yet. The Scav’s aren’t aliens but are the last humans on earth, shockingly not shocking.
But Morgan Freeman will save this movie, that’s what they hire him for. Save our movie, give it credibility and a moral compass. Wait what’s wrong Morgan? It isn’t working, you mutant power to add credibility to the most weakest of scripts is waning. Morgan is suddenly sleepy and confused himself. This made for TV plotline is enough to sink his teeth into and even Morgan’s incredible skills fail to create an Morpheus to Cruise’s Neo.
Ten fuel cells, a nuke and a Drone that can only be programmed by Jack. The Drone is like a puppy to Jack, they are somehow linked and the Drone wants to do what Jack tells him to. The humans want to end a war, but what war is it and with who.
It’s aliens that have been giving the orders not Command. Sally is a bad digital facsimile of the effective teams past Commander from Nasa spearheading a mission of first contact with aliens that went badly wrong.
The Drones are human killing machines, keeping the last few humans in line while the Hydro rigs steal the Earth’s precious oceans. And Jack and Vic have been the support line for destroying their own race while what was supposed to be aliens is actually some sort of AI.
So the Artificial Intelligence behind all of this contrivance need energy to survive. Why this much energy? Why an entire planets energy? And why is such a powerful AI threatened by a few land locked human? That is needs other humans to help safeguard itself.
This is really a thin veil of believability and if Isaac Asimov were still alive he would be very mad indeed, very mad at the lack of any science or credibility supporting the AI called TET? I cold never be for sure what was the name being mouthed.
But Morgan let’s Jack off the hook teasing him. The truth lies in the radiation zones where the flesh will melt off your face. At least that’s what Command has been saying, but Morgan has a different story. Go see for yourself Jack if you are man enough.
Why did the aliens let Julia’s ship orbit the earth for 60 years? Just to let it land on Earth to play with Jack’s mind and force him to remember.
Ok this is turning into a really long examination of Oblivion! I am beginning to realize that I may be lost in oblivion. Maybe I can’t finish this review. Why have I gone on for so long? Is it because I am a bad writer. Have I lost my way?
What in the world am I even trying to say at this point. Other than I can see why other reviewers write such short reviews of movies. What am I trying to get at, certainly a blow by blow account serves little purpose. Is that what a review is supposed to do?
Let’s tie this down!
Into the radiation zone, over a dune, Jack’s discover the truth. Though almost obvious before they meet. The man walking to fix a fallen drone dressed the same colors as Jack looks oddly familiar despite the CGI facial masking, and Jack’s rifle sights conveniently being broken.
All instinct tells you it’s Jack’s clone. OMG. But he is wearing a scarf so they are kinda different, but not cause he’s a clone. But there’s variants because jack wouldn’t wear a scarf, oh forget it. Tie this down.
Why isn’t Jack staring into his own clones eyes, the least bit shocking or interesting? Is it because Cruise seems a clone most of the time? Or is it because most of Cruise’s movies seem cloned together with the same scenes. It may seem natural that Cruise will one day meet his own clone at a Scientology meeting but it’s suppose to be eerie in the movie but it isn’t. So dammit, the movie biggest turning point is lost.
Right, so Clones of Jack, fixing drone of sectors with their own high tech houses with sexy cloned Vic’s waiting with sexy flavors and solace but the same party line of orders and culpability.
Put this one erratic clone of Jack on a collision course with Tet, the orbiting AI. Carrying some nukes and a half dead popup Morgan Freeman and you have the end of the movie.
Boom! I made it out of Oblivion alive. I would like to thank anyone that was strong enough to read this review and if you can leave a comment as proof that you have endured this insane journey with me, the AI gods will bequeath unto you special powers of intelligence.
Thank you and thank God I am free.