clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Doug's Take: 'Oblivion' is long and feels like it

Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper in "Oblivion."
Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper in "Oblivion."
David James

Three movies all packed into one! No wonder I walked out of “Oblivion” …. well, oblivious.

Tom Cruise stars as Jack, who is teamed with the lovely Victoria, played by Andrea Riceborough, as they hang out in their posh, little sky-high condo, tasked with “mopping up” after a horrific war that has left Earth decimated.

You see, 60 years earlier, an alien force tore our moon to pieces, which, of course, led to horrendous natural disasters all while they invaded and virtually wiped out humankind.

What are the earthlings to do? Use the nukes, naturally.

Apparently, we technically won but were compelled to relocate to a distant moon of a neighboring planet. So, why are Jack and Victoria still “mopping up?” We learn that our distant stronghold is being powered with energy generated from the Earth’s seawater and pesky little aliens, known as “Scavs,” are bedeviling the efforts. So, Jack goes out every day, bristling with weapons, hops into a very cool futuristic little helicopter-like thing and flies off to another day of repairing defensive drones and blasting Scavs.

So, what does Victoria do? She’s a stay-at-home warrior, a combination of June Cleaver and Laura Croft, cooks the meals and has Jack’s back while monitoring his actions, passing on instructions and communicating with Sally back at headquarters. Of course, she greets Jack at the glass doors after a long day with not a hair out of place and totally alluring.

Umm, did I mention both have had their memories wiped? Just thought I’d drop that in because a few troubling memories are slipping through to Jack’s consciousness.

OK, I think I’ve gotten us through the first few moments of the movie and we still have more than 110 minutes to go and I’m running out of time and column space and … patience.

Are things as they appear or will Jack’s bothersome memories, especially that of a lovely woman he obviously has a very meaningful connection with, open up a whole new world and perspective? Alas, it’s all so confusing.

But let’s get to the cool stuff. The special effects are spectacular. The images of post-apocalyptic Earth are simply breathtaking with less-than-subtle nods to every other post-apocalyptic movie you can imagine, including the obligatory flame from the Statue of Liberty. I have to admit to some compelling performances, including Olga Kurylenko as Jack’s memory woman and Morgan Freeman as a mysterious fellow earthling. I’m going to be kind and not mention shadows of “The Matrix.”

Well, OK, I just did. Never mind.

Here’s the bottom line. "Oblivion" is long and feels like it. It’s confusing and should have been at least a two-parter with more backstory. Too many things seem familiar.

Oh, well, I have to give it at least 2½ stars.