Running Time: 125 mins.
Premise: Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), one of the last two humans on earth in year 2077, leads a routine life of resource extraction and drone repair, but finds his world rocked by the arrival of a mysterious woman and his kidnapping by alien scavengers.
Behind-the-Scenes: The film is based on a graphic novel written by director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy). Kosinski has a welcome habit of choosing unorthodox composers for his projects - first came Daft Punk for Tron, and now M83 doing the Oblivion score.
The Good: Kosinski has really stepped up his game since Tron: Legacy. The visuals here are just as breathtaking, and truly awesome, but they are more refined and used in better service to the story. Cruise has not lost any of his youth or starpower over the years - this is one of his better and more memorable performances. There are a lot of fairly deep sci-fi ideas and themes explored here, but it never ceases to entertain or lose track of its audience. The visual effects are of the highest quality. M83's score is one of the best in recent memory - beautiful, haunting, exciting. The marketing has remained purposefully vague, obscuring several of the big plot twists that occur. Some you may see coming, others not, but all of the twists are good ones. Oblivion really pushed a lot of my geek buttons. I wanted to see it again almost immediately.
The Bad: The biggest knock against the movie seems to be that for a supposedly original sci-fi film, it's awfully derivative. And that's true. You'll definitely catch shades of 2001, Independence Day, Moon, Wall-E, I Am Legend, The Matrix, and Planet of the Apes. But I like all of those movies, and I liked this one. The second half is rather thinly scripted; it leaps around to various plot points without fully fleshing out many of them.
Should You See It?: Yes. This one deserves to be seen in theaters. Preferably in IMAX or the biggest screen available. Oblivion is my favorite movie of 2013 so far.
Rating: **** out of 5 stars.