‘Oblivion' (Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet)
High style and beautiful ruins go a long way toward the initial seduction of director Joseph Kosinski's apocalyptic science-fiction film “Oblivion.” But peel away the star power of Tom Cruise and the spectacular aesthetics, and there is not enough at the center to sustain it.
Cruise plays Jack Harper, one-half of the clean up team preparing the final departure of humanity from Earth, living high above a surface devastated by the aftereffects of an alien invasion. In the final two weeks before his scheduled departure for Titan, Jack makes a series of discoveries, including a mysterious survivor (Olga Kurylenko), and finds that his perception of his mission — and his own existence — is several degrees off from reality.
Like Kosinski's previous film, “Tron: Legacy,” “Oblivion” is a beautifully built but hollow film that aims for the loneliness of “WALL-E,” “Moon” or “Silent Running” but cops out on that in favor of action blasts that break up the creepy stillness and feel like a studio intervention. Much like Daft Punk was recruited to bring sonic majesty to “Tron,” this film features a great electronic soundtrack — this time, M83 provides the pulse.
Cruise is in his element and Morgan Freeman contributes ready-made gravitas as Beech, a longtime survivor and exposition generator, but “Oblivion” is far too slight for a story in which the future of humanity hangs in the balance.
— George Lang