FILM FANS: 'Oblivion' is like any other sci-fi flick


Special Photo: Universal Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylenko star in "Oblivion."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Oblivion." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 out of 4 stars

I guess "Oblivion" is not my type of movie because I found it to be a serious two hour snooze-fest. The story is just plain boring and boringly told; it is a plot that has been done to death. I never cared about any of the characters and was never engaged in the story.

It starts slow and stays at that pace until practically the end. There is not much action; it is pretty tranquil except when the drones -- which resemble evil M&Ms -- attack. There are few characters and all are one-dimensional (and where are the villains?). There is no chemistry between Tom Cruise's character, Jack Harper, and his two loves. Their interactions are stiff and mechanical.

There is some nice scenery but the CGI is nothing that hasn't been done before.

This is a very bland movie -- even Jack Harper's dream sequences are unimaginative. It's like a few days in the life of Jack Harper. Yawn, wake me up when the villains arrive.

-- Francine Benoit, Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 stars

Tom Cruise is one of the most polarizing movie actors of the past decade. It seems many moviegoers either love him or hate him. Cruise continues to defy his critics, and his age, by unraveling miles of money-making celluloid. "Oblivion" seems to have all the makings of another money-earner.

"Oblivion" takes place on a future Earth. Natural resources (and the moon) have been destroyed by a costly war with an alien species called Scavs whom we defeated, at least partially, with nukes. Mankind has headed for the Saturn moon, Titan. However, humans need water to survive and they are sucking the oceans of Earth dry before they leave.

To help ensure the water farming goes well, Cruise's character, Jack, along with his teammate, must regulate the rigs and the drones that keep the rigs safe from the remaining Scavs on the planet. Another human shows up later with a wrench to throw in Jack's machinery.

I found the story satisfying in a blockbuster sort of way. There are plenty of questions that go unanswered, and, as with any sci-fi film, one has to cut nearly every tie with reality, but I was never bored and I actually cared what happened to these characters. Also, the drones set the stage for some truly riveting action sequences. Cruise is Cruise, and he doesn't stray from his brand in this one. Fortunately, I tend to like his characters.

-- Jeremy D. Beauchamp, Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 stars

After seeing the "Oblivion" movie trailer, I was excited to see this movie. I was hopeful it would live up to expectations. And it almost did.

After a world war against an alien invasion that destroyed most of our moon, causing Earth to be mainly unlivable due to massive floods and earthquakes, the remaining human population has resettled on the Saturn moon of Titan. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is tasked with maintaining drones that protect the hydro rigs that gather resources to help mankind on Titan. Although we won the war with the alien Scavs, some still remain and continue to try to destroy the drones and even attempt to kill Jack. He is partnered up with Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) who monitors him on repair missions and communicates with Sally (Melissa Leo) at mission control on Titan from their command center in the clouds. During a repair mission, Jack discovers a human spaceship crash with one survivor named Julia (Olga Kurylenko) who he just happened to be seeing in his dreams.

The film moves on with a good twist and a reveal that some may see coming. The special effects are very solid with incredible CGI landscapes that look very real and add to the visual enjoyment of the scenes. However, "Oblivion" does touch on other familiar movie storylines that older viewers will surly remember. It certainly doesn't break new ground in the sci-fi genre, but it does have more substance than your usual big action film that goes from one big bang to the next. If you can overlook some of the flaws and familiarity, it is an entertaining movie worth seeing.

-- Ken Gamble, Lawrenceville