Oblivion does two things well enough to make a very enjoyable alien invasion movie. It has truly beautiful special effects, not the blazing ray guns and exploding space ships that we might want, but lovely landscapes of a stricken earth – it was filmed in stricken Iceland – and a really cool pod craft, which is sort of a future equivalent of an attack helicopter. No rotors of course, it is the future. And the film spotlights blue eyed Tom Cruise who is in excellent physical shape.
It also has an intricate plot and Morgan Freeman who lends his dignity to the effort. The complicated plot had Cruise involved with two fellow astronauts, Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Risebourough, a British actress. Also appearing in a small supporting role is Danish born Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who we remember from his role as Jamie Lannister in the HBO blockbuster Game of Thrones.
Director Joseph Kosinski (Tron Legacy) has Cruise and Risebourough act more like affectionate cousins than the lover/partners that they are supposed to be. But there is a method here and we discover why they may seem to be too distant for lovebirds. Kosinski also helped with the screenplay and assumed the duties of producer. We can fairly say that this is his film.
The Cruise character is a sort of space repair man. His job is to keep the gigantic water siphons and their attendant robot drone protectors running after an alien invasion is beaten back by the heroic Earth folk. Risebourough is his lover/boss/protector. The siphoned water is being converted into energy to support the remnant human race, which fled a ravished Earth for Titan, a moon of Saturn. In order to save the planet, the planet was wrecked. But nothing is what it seems to be.
The stunning vistas and cool gadgets make this one fun to watch. It is a serious science fiction film, not a spoof or a slap dash explosion fest. In the best tradition of science fiction, some of the ultimate issues are exposed; in this case a pondering of what makes a man a man, or a particular man. I thought the $120 million budget for this minor science fiction flick well spent. This average three saw blade (Three Comets?) PG-13 film will satisfy fans of Cruise and of the genre. Watch for flashes of Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and even The Pride and the Passion and smile. Oblivion last a good long two hours and five minutes.
In the first week of May we get Iron Man in the very first-time-ever-for-Payson modern 3D movie. That will be cool. May will be filled with big production films and then we burst into full summer mode.
The trailers look very good this year. Cross your fingers.