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tom-cruise-oblivion-wallpapers-9-fusion-reactors“Oblivion” is one stylish movie. Every frame could be clipped and hung on the wall to garner oohs and ahhs from your houseguests. Everything about it looks great. Morgan Freeman even wears a jaunty cape. But, I’m afraid the style took precedence over the substance. There is much to like here, but for me the story starts to go slightly out of orbit in the last hour and never quite becomes earthbound again.

Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a security and drone maintenance man on planet earth sixty years after a war with the alien Scavs destroyed all life on the planet. Nearing the end of his mission on the desolate place, he and girlfriend Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are due to return to home base, now located in outer space. Thing is, Jack doesn’t really want to leave. He has memory jolts, little shards of recollections the life he led before the war and his memory wipe, and he wants to stay and explore them. When he discovers a human survivor, Julia (Olga Kurylenko) he begins to question everything about his existence.

This is the kind of movie Tom Cruise was born to star in, the sort of thing that made him a superstar. He understands the dynamics of anchoring a huge movie like this, and hits all the right notes in the action scenes.

Nobody outruns a fireball quite like Cruise.

The trouble is, this is a romantic sci fi movie without much of an emotional center. It’s all stark and calculated, and feels sterile.

Riseborough does bring a lot of humanity to a character who isn’t required to do much but much of the heavy lifting is left to Kurylenko’s character, and while she’s beautiful, I’m afraid she has the range of an emoticon. She does much better work in To the Wonder.

I won’t give away any spoilers from the last half because the plot thickens near the end, but it still manages to be kind of standard. Of course there is the customary scene where someone is about to be executed but is saved by an alarm, and does everyone in post apocalyptic worlds listen to classic rock? But beyond the usual Hollywood contrivances, it telegraphs virtually all of its third act reveals. Pay attention in the first hour and there’s no real need to hang around for the closing credits except for the view.

Visually director and writer Joseph “Tron” Kosinski creates an amazing world. There is a bombed out beauty to the images of New York City—you see the top of the Chrysler Building peeking up from the earth, surrounded by fields and lakes—the result, we’re told of the Scavs destroying the moon and Mother Nature destroying the rest.

Seems Mother Nature also wiped away whatever humanity was left on the planet as well.

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