Review by C.J. Bunce
If you’re in sync with Joseph Kosinski’s latest science fiction flick Oblivion, you may find yourself thinking about it days after you watched it. Who exactly was (or will be) Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), his companion Vica (Andrea Risenborough), and the new arrival Julia (played by Bond girl Olga Kurylenko? How do you know what is real and what is not? A science fiction film can do something entirely new, or it can mix together quintessential science fiction elements in a new way. Last summer’s moderately well-received Oblivion, now available on Blu-ray and DVD, is the latter. It is a good mix of many things that ultimately serve to continue to prove that Tom Cruise knows how to pick scripts that entertain.
Oblivion is post-apocalyptic, but without the dismal brown tones of most films in that genre. It contains typical science fiction warning signs, including the age-old “beware of technology,” but also asks the question “are you sure you want to promulgate drone technologies?” It mixes action and sci-fi in a visually impressive way. But it does a lot more.
When was the last time we saw Aaron Eckhart as lead actor in a movie? As adman Nick Naylor trying to save big tobacco in the brilliant Thank You for Smoking? Eckhart is such a great lead actor-type that you wonder why he isn’t headlining more movies. He’s the guy that had us all wearing “I Believe in Harvey Dent” badges after his performance as Two-Face in The Dark Knight. He drew some critical acclaim for his role opposite Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich. And he served as a great bad guy opposite Ben Affleck in the superb Philip K. Dick adaptation Paycheck. Finally Echkart gets his own action movie in Erased, a flick whose launch date was originally set for last year but now seems to be finally set for May 10, 2013.
Tom Cruise as mega-hit actor pretty much can do no wrong. Where Kevin Costner excels at boyish buffoonery, Tom Cruise plays cocky like no other. Where Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the ultimate action hero, Tom Cruise’s trademark parts are fiercely determined and angry. Like Arnold, if you can put aside and ignore his personal antics, his films always entertain. Whether it’s Cruise in a small role like way back in Taps and The Outsiders, or the usual leading man role, as with A Few Good Men, Rain Man, Top Gun, War of the Worlds, the Mission: Impossible films, Minority Report, Jerry Maguire, The Last Samurai, The Color of Money, Far and Away, The Firm, or Valkyrie, his films just don’t disappoint.