After Rock of Ages and Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise will now be seen in Joseph Kosinski's sci-fi thriller Oblivion. However, while Tom Cruise seems to have fared well, the film may not have much new to offer.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Plot Synopsis: Jack (Tom Cruise), a veteran is assigned to extract Earth's remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself
According to the critics, Tom Cruise seems to have fared well but the film does not have much new to offer.
Anthony Quinn, The Independent
The film is an amalgam itself scavenged from parts of Total Recall, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien and even a pinch of Top Gun, with Cruise reprising his flyboy moves inside a superfast helicopter thingy (the technical term).
As a piece of narrative, though, it's portentous, sluggish and fatally ungripping. Morgan Freeman and hunk du jour Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Headhunters) arrive late but fail to electrify a clapped-out vehicle, an Us vs Them scenario of no great originality. I was mesmerised by Andrea Riseborough's porcelain complexion, magnified spookily by the gigantic IMAX screen, but even her lustre can't carry this laboured yarn on its own.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
A sort of The Eternal Return played out in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic planet Earth, Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion is an absolutely gorgeous film dramatically caught between its aspirations for poetic romanticism and the demands of heavy sci-fi action. After a captivating beginning brimming with mystery and evident ambition, the air gradually seeps out of the balloon that keeps this thinly populated tale aloft, leaving the ultimate impression of a nice try that falls somewhat short of the mark. There's enough futuristic eye candy and battle scenes to lure the genre boys, while the presence of three important female characters, as well as Tom Cruise in good form, could attract more women than usual for this sort of fare, resulting in mostly robust, but not great, returns worldwide.
There have been many films set on an Earth depleted of humans, but few as visually enthralling as this one. Shot by Claudio Miranda of Life of Pi, Oblivion shares that film's lovely light, nuanced coloration and virtually seamless meshing of live photography and effects. In neither film is it always possible to be entirely sure of what is real and what's computer generated, but the result is beautiful however it breaks down.
There's a bit too much manly stunt stuff, the better likes of which we've seen in the Mission: Impossible extravaganzas and elsewhere, but generally Cruise plays it naturalistic and low-key here, likable and to solid effect. Riseborough, who was the one person worth watching in Madonna's wretched W.E., is an inspired bit of casting as she brings prim, snappy delivery to many routine lines and irrepressible emotion to her later behavior. Kurylenko is more than plausible as a woman who would inspire recurring dreams in Jack, while Leo has so much personality that she can burst right through the limitations of her video screen-only appearances and still register strongly.
Guy Lodge, Time Out
Whatever its other shortcomings, Kosinski’s 2010 directorial debut Tron: Legacy constructed a virtual-reality universe so sharply dressed and decorated it was hard to see why the characters kept trying to escape.
He has repeated that trick in his follow-up, Oblivion, a sleek sci-fi playground of gleaming cloud palaces, where French hipsters M83 provide the electro-classical beats and even Tom Cruise’s dirtied radiation suit looks runway-ready. Set in 2077, 60 years after aliens supposedly laid waste to our planet and forced humanity into this chic sky shelter, ‘Oblivion’ suggests the apocalypse may not be all bad news.
Like a haute couture designer with no grasp of ready-to-wear garb, Kosinski continues to lavish far more thought on how his elaborate fantasy worlds look than how they work, and neither the politics nor the human stakes here coalesce into rational or relatable drama. ‘Oblivion’ finally plods even as it dazzles; a flick through Kosinski’s sketchbook would be quicker and equally impressive.
Justin Chang, Variety
Although Universal’s publicity department has asked that journalists refrain from spilling the secrets of Oblivion, the major revelations, once they arrive, will hardly surprise anyone familiar with Total Recall, The Matrix and the countless other sci-fi touchstones hovering over this striking, visually resplendent adventure. Pitting the latest action-hero incarnation of Tom Cruise against an army of alien marauders, director Joseph Kosinski’s follow-up to Tron: Legacy is a moderately clever dystopian mindbender with a gratifying human pulse, despite some questionable narrative developments along the way. The less-than-airtight construction and conventional resolution may rankle genre devotees, though hardly to the detriment of robust overall B.O.
This patient narrative strategy works well enough until Jack’s big questions finally start to yield answers – many of them delivered, as answers so often are, by the sage presence of Morgan Freeman – and the story’s underlying thinness and predictability gradually become apparent. The superficial cleverness of the plotting, with its elements of amnesia, self-delusion and impossible yearning, at times gestures in the direction of a Christopher Nolan brainteaser (as does the surging score by French band M83, which sounds like electronified Hans Zimmer). But the lack of comparable rigor, ingenuity and procedural detail is naggingly evident, as is the almost feel-good manner in which the story explains away some of its morally troubling implications.
Kosinski’s architectural background is apparent in the picture’s suave, rounded design concepts and clean, coherent compositions, the effect of which is gloriously enveloping in Imax. Insofar as Oblivion is first and foremost a visual experience, a movie to be seen rather than a puzzle to be deciphered, its chief pleasures are essentially spoiler-proof.