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Rated PG-13    3.5 stars out of 5

oblivion-smI was in “Oblivion” today, the movie, and it was pretty cool. That is exactly what you want to say after you walk out of a sci-fi flick: that was cool. Tom Cruise (Minority Report) stars as Jack Harper, who is literally the last man on Earth (or – spoiler alert – maybe not) working drone maintenance duty with his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough from Brighton Rock). They put it simply up front, “We won the war and lost the planet.” In two weeks, Jack and Victoria can finally leave and go to Titan (the biggest Saturn moon, come on, keep up) where the rest of the earthlings fled.

Jack and Victoria’s only contact is with mission control, run by Sally (Melissa Leo from The Fighter), who has the kind of southern accent that scares you. I half expected her to say, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” With most stories, everything is going well until another woman enters the picture. When Julia (Olga Kurylenko from Quantum of Solace) falls from the sky, Jack has bigger problems than planet-destroying aliens.

I understand this was a graphic novel, which I am too old for, but it sounds like something my 2-year-old granddaughter would like. Every night she looks up in the sky and says, “Where are you Mr. Moon?” In this movie, that would be a problem, because the invaders took out the moon up front and that is what caused most of the devastation. They did a great job of making Earth look completely decimated, and I understand there was no CGI – they shot it all in downtown Detroit.

I am a fan of Tom Cruise, since he and I settled our differences years ago. Once again, his character’s name is Jack and he takes his shirt off, runs really fast and gets his nose broken. The movie also hits on many traditional sci-fi themes, but I stopped checking off plot points from other movies and just set back and let Tom Cruise, I mean Jack, save the day.

The movie felt like classic science fiction, and wonderboy Writer/Director Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) held the world and the story together. With enough action, enough story and enough gadgets and explosions, he served up a nice two-hour movie. He stayed out of politics, environmental decay and all the other societal overtones modern storytellers get sucked into. I would tell you more about the movie, but I have a contractual agreement with my conscience to let you be surprised when I was surprised. And I was often surprised. All I can divulge is that I give this movie 3 ½ stars of out 5.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.

Here is a link to his movie review site:



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