And it came as a cold a realisation that I have seen way too many science fiction movies.
Let me rewind a moment. I was really torn about seeing this. On the one hand, it’s a Tom Cruise science fiction movie and they never fail to be entertaining. On the other hand, it’s a Tom Cruise science fiction movie and I don’t like him.
To avoid any confusion, I don’t personally know Tom Cruise (though I did have a dream where I punched him in the face). But… from what I have seen of him as a human guy, I think he is a tool. And he’s a scientologist. That alone is enough to put anyone off.
Stuck for something to do on a pretty horrible day, I decided to go see a movie. Oblivion or Dark Skies were the ones on offer. My brother made the final decision and Tom Cruise’s stupid scientologist face for 2 hours was it.
And it was really good. A solid 4 out of 5.
So why didn’t it get 5 stars? Let’s go back to my first point.
While watching Oblivion, I realised that I have seen too many science fiction films.
While the film is couple of years old, I don’t like to give spoilers away, so I can’t say too much on this point but there are certain plot points here that you will have seen before. I’d go so far as to say that at least three big reveals have been done elsewhere and somewhat better.
That normally isn’t a problem because I get that all stories borrow liberally from one another. There are only really seven stories to be told, yada yada. And yet, I’d guessed a fairly major plot point simply from the job title of Tom Cruise’s character in this film. I don’t know whether that’s more telling of the film or my viewing habits…
To be fair, this didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the film though. Even at the denouement, which I saw coming a mile off, I still enjoyed it. So in that way, it was well done.
The film is visually stunning. The environments are gorgeous and the post-apocalypse Earth is really well realised. I would almost recommend seeing the film for that alone but most people I know don’t go to films to enjoy the CGI backgrounds.
The two leads, Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough, have great chemistry (but when has Tom Cruise not had great chemistry with a female lead?) and they carry the film very well, which is fortunate given that they are the only two people you see for a good chunk of the movie.
The plot is clever (if all the science isn’t) and if you haven’t ever seen a lot of science fiction, I think you will really get a lot out of this movie.
As it is, for me, a man who has seen pretty much every science fiction film ever, I found Oblivion to be very compelling and it was only in the last act that my engagement faltered a bit.
TL:DR “Despite what you might think of Tom Cruise as a person, he rarely fails to deliver an entertaining performance in an otherwise clichéd movie.”