Director Joseph Kosinski’s “Oblivion” is nothing more, or less, than a vehicle assembled with used parts.
Conveniently taking place in the year 2077, “Oblivion” follows Jack Harper, a drone repair man stationed on a post-apocalyptic Earth. The majority of man-kind has since been eradicated by “alien” scavengers, appropriately called “Scavs”. Oh, and they destroyed our moon too. The rest of humanity resides in Titan–one of Saturn’s moons—with their leader, Sally, a matriarch with a noticeable southern accent.
Harper’s got everything he needs: a suspended loft, pool, some high-class weaponry, and a live-in lover who also acts as his communication’s officer. Together, “the clean-up crew”, as Harper calls them, lead a pretty normal life. There’s only one thing missing— his memory.
After the doomsday, authorities enforced a “mandatory memory wipe-out”, placing every survivor into a state of “oblivion”. Harper has no recollection of his past but has reoccurring dreams that include a pretty brunette and some New York scenery. The remaining hour or so exposes a past once thought eradicated and unearths some buried truths through a very “vital” discovery.
What’s nice about this film is it’s original storyline. Most sci-fi films are simply carbon copies of previous ones with an altered finale or beefier plot. However, Kosinski—director of “Tron Legacy”—shares his unpublished graphic novel with us. We would’ve appreciated this charitable gesture if it didn’t come wrapped in used gift wrap from a few Christmas ago.
The gimmicky drones, who favor “Wall-E” bots, the cliché “world within a world” twist—reminiscent of “The Matrix”—and the “Planet of the Apes” flare of the survivors weaken the film and water it down to a flavorless blockbuster. And of course it’s the future so everything including the kitchen counter tops is touch-screen. If it weren’t for Tom Cruise’s organic one-liners like “This is the only choice” and classic stunt-double action scenes, the film may not have seen production day.
While we aren’t apart of the dream-like future depicted in sci-fi films, we’d like to at least feel like we are for a couple of hours without gimmicky reminders of its fabrication.
Running Time: 2 hr. 5 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13