'Oblivion' review: Visually beautiful, ironically forgettable
Tom Cruise's new sci-fi flick is a visually beautiful piece of film wrapped around forced plot points and unmerited story twists.
In brief: 'Oblivion' is the story of a couple living alone on Earth, with only weeks left before joining Earth's refugees on a distant moon. But, of course, everything he believes is a lie. (Watch the trailer)
In its effort to throw world-shattering plot twist after plot twist at the hero, 'Oblivion' is more a story forced upon a paper-thin character than a story initiated/pushed forward by its hero.
To clarify: plot-driven films that strive to slam the protagonist with one new twist after another should lay a strong foundation of history and story elements to make each successful plot twist truly surprising and meaningful. 'Oblivion' goes to no such effort - it simply justifies each and every plot surprise in the entire film with a rather clunky third-act story reveal via flashback. More effort is made to make the story 'mysterious' than to make its story at all compelling.
'Oblivion' burns zero calories crafting a framework to support each surprising plot element, thus leaving each plot twist unmerited and flat.
It's not bad enough that 'Oblivion' shoehorns its hero into its forced story - but incredible coincidences more-so-than character choices push the story forward. Jack Harper (Cruise) is out of radio contact exactly when he would have heard about an incoming crashing ship. His heroic actions are witnessed at just the right moments by just the right characters. The moment his ship is broken, he comes across a brand new one - especially impressive since this Earth is an eroded, weathered wasteland.
Final verdict: 'Oblivion' is a lazy sci-fi flick propped up by convenient coincidence, under-developed characters and plot twists without punch. Pass on this nonsense.