I’ll forgive a lot for an IMAX film shot in 4K resolution with a ridiculously dramatic M83 score featuring panoramic vistas of Iceland that I can watch without shitty 3D glasses, but the surprise of Oblivion is that there wasn’t that much to forgive (though the score is pretty overbearing at times). Other than Tom Cruise’s creepy hairless torso, and the fact that every woman in the future seems to be a supermodel who wants to fling herself at Tom Cruise’s creepy, hairless, 20-years-older torso, it’s actually an artful mish-mash of older sci-fi that borrows from just enough sources that it doesn’t feel like a ripoff. It succeeds on the strength of cinematography, character design, and careful withholding of information. It leaves you feeling confused until the very end, much like my lovemaking, and when it finally lays its cards on the table, it feels like it actually had something to say. Or at least, something to say other than “thanks for the 15 dollars, sucker!”
Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, because “Jack” is to action film heroes what “Madison” is to yuppies, but even the genericness of his name is partially explained later by a clever script. Cruise is part of a “mop-up crew,” a two-person team consisting of Cruise and a hot redhead played by Andrea Riseborough, who live a sick sky-flat with a heated pool and modernist platform bed high above a post-apocalyptic Earth, whose job it is to do maintenance work on series of droids that protect giant, seawater-fed reactors that power the new human colony on Titan, a moon of Saturn. The droids protect the reactors from “Scavs,” the remnants of an alien race that lost a war to the humans, though the Earth was rendered mostly uninhabitable in the process. (*deep breath*) OR SO TOM CRUISE AND THIS REDHEAD BROAD HAVE BEEN TOLD.