Oblivion (12A)

Where do I start? Not even 15 minutes into this movie I wanted to bolt.

I was just so utterly bored by it. But I thought “no stop being mardy and see it through.” I really wish I hadn’t. The thought of Morgan Freeman’s performance was the only thing that kept me going. But even the magnificent Freeman couldn’t save the day. You can polish a turd as much as you want, but ultimately, it’s still a turd.

Not to pander to Cruise’s megalomaniac ego too much, his character Jack Harper, fights for humanity’s future in this sc-fi spectacle.

Jack Harper is part of a two-person crew tasked with protecting Earth’s remaining resources following a cataclysmic alien invasion that left the planet uninhabitable. Along with his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), Jack oversees and maintains a deadly armada of defence drones – charged with shielding massive resource harvesters from the hostile ‘Skav’ attacks.

The pair are supported in their efforts by mission commander Sally (Melisso Leo) who lives aboard the Tet – an orbital space station and the base of harvest operations. In two weeks time, the harvesters will have collected enough raw materials from Earth to ensure humanity’s long-term survival – at which point Jack and Victoria are scheduled to join the other survivors on Titan (Saturn’s largest moon).

However, when a routine Drone repair raises new information about the Skavs, Jack begins to ask dangerous questions about his mission. Victoria refuses to divulge any information and is purely focussed on the imminent departure from Earth.

Then Jack’s existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces Jack to question everything he knows, and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.

What is disappointing is that this diabolical offering comes from TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski and Rise of the Planet of the Apes producers Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark.

There is no real character development, just a bucket load of Top Gun-esque scenes depicting Cruise as a mighty and wonderful hero. His is truly terrible in this movie and what shocks me is that Cruise has been described as the natural choice to play mankind’s defender. Really? I can think of a handful of people better suited to the role in about a minute.

Jack Harper shares characteristics with his previous roles as Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible) and John Anderton (Minority Report). You could forgive this if Cruise had focussed on the right idiosyncrasies that Oblivion demanded, but he didn’t. It was just yet another Cruise action yawn-fest.

By Ruth Walker
★★☆☆☆

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