Though nearly every review credits director John Kosinski with the film’s sleek futuristic aesthetic, most critics can’t get completely on-board with the sci-fi epic they feel borrows too much from what came before it. “Oblivion” has critics split right down the middle, so take a look at our review round up to get a better idea if you should head out to the theaters this weekend.
“It’s 2077. Earth has been devastated by a war with invading aliens. Most of the remaining populace has been relocated to a Saturn moon. Jack has recently undergone a ’mandatory memory wipe’ and now goes about his work, a couple of weeks prior to his own exit from Earth. He’s a security guard and all-around Mr. Fix-It living and working high above what’s left of Earth’s surface in Tower 49 with his lover/colleague Victoria (Andrea Riseborough).” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“OK, that’s the plot of Pixar’s ’WALL-E.’ Minus the animation, it’s also the motor that drives ’Oblivion,’ a fantasy without an original thought in its sleek, empty head. Director Joseph Kosinski (’Tron: Legacy’) knows from sleek. If looks were everything, ’Oblivion’ — gorgeously shot by ’Life of Pi’ Oscar winner Claudio Miranda — would be the sci-fi ’Citizen Kane.’ It’s not. With a script Karl Gajdusek and Michael DeBruyn adapted from Kosinski’s graphic novel, ’Oblivion’ is a scavenger, feeding off better material.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Really, though, all you need to know is that Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper. He rides a motorcycle. He shoots fancy-looking guns. He never gets fazed, though he does get conked on the head. That’s the kind of guy Jack Harper is. Last winter, Cruise played the title role in ’Jack Reacher.’ What is it with the Jacks? His agent must have had some explaining to do when Cruise didn’t get the lead in ’Jack the Giant Slayer.’ ” — Mark Feeney, Boston Globe
The Final Word
“Somehow setting aside its exhaustively derivative central mystery, the base-level spectacle of ’Oblivion’ does manage to be Big and Loud and Not Entirely Incoherent for those willing to watch Tom Cruise serve his primary purpose in the guise of a man trying to uncover his primary purpose. Sure, I may not sound overly thrilled by the end result, but just go back and ask 14-year-old me what he thought.” — William Gross, Film.com