‘Oblivion’ should have been better

By: By Frank Miller - Special to The News Messenger
-A +A



Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko

Two out of five stars


In the near future, after our planet has been decimated by war, one man must unravel a mystery that holds the key to the survival of the human race.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

“Oblivion” is like every other post-apocalyptic movie in that it takes place after all of the fighting is over. In this version, aliens attacked Earth and, in the throes of defeat, destroyed the moon before retreating.

Without a moon, the planet was in chaos. Earthquakes leveled cities and tidal waves destroyed the rest. Mankind escaped to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, while only two technicians remained behind, repairing drones and collecting resources.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is two weeks away from joining everyone on Titan when one of his repair jobs goes wrong and he is captured by a mysterious group of humans still living on Earth. The group reveals to Jack that things aren’t what they seem.

If you’ve seen a handful of classic sci-fi films, you’ve pretty much already seen “Oblivion” because this is a film that wears its influences on its sleeve. It’s one thing to be derivative but it’s another to be boring in the process.

Technically, the film is flawless. Special effects are top-notch; designs are well thought out and the score and soundtrack are impeccable.

However, director Joseph Kosinski, who also helmed the lunk-headed “Tron: Legacy,” still doesn’t have an ear for story or dialogue. If he can ever figure out how to make moviegoers enjoy his characters, Kosinski’s going to make one heck of a film.

“Oblivion” isn’t that film, unfortunately.

It’s nothing more than a collection of eye candy and skin-deep concepts that are strung together in the loosest of ways. Kosinski definitely has visual panache but he still has a long way to go if wants to make a film that endures under mild scrutiny.

Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.