Tom Cruise is back on our screens with a slick looking ‘dying Earth’ sci-fi yarn, though he will have to work a lot harder to catch up with Bruce Willis’ tally of saving the world 11 times (so far).
(Next paragraph contains info from any trailer you may have watched.)
Jack (Cruise) and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are stationed on Earth sixty years after Aliens have invaded and been beaten. But the world has been left exhausted and barely habitable. They oversee the extraction of water for the off world populations use. Spherical Drones skim the planet’s surface hunting down the minority of aliens (Scavs) left alive. Tom is a drone mechanic.
There is nothing new here. To put it in Sci-Fi terms it begins a little like an inversion of Waterworld mixed with Wall-E, then dips in and out of Philip K. Dick , stealing from Robocop along the way (heavily armoured drones), before turning all Mad Max and then settling into a sort of Independence Day plus smatterings of I Am Legend and all with Adam and Eve overtones.
It is romanticised and simplified, with some very cheesy lines, and some terrible plot holes. Without spoiling anything just watch out for where the ‘recording’ ends and where it comes from in the first place. If it hadn’t been part of their contract these Aliens could easily have wiped us out decades earlier.
None of the acting is out of place but I’d love to see Cruise to take more roles like Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July and especially Magnolia, we know he can do cool under pressure, he’s more fun when he’s unhinged.
Though they are a little ripped off, for me, the drones were the stars.
Given the choice I’d watch Prometheus again first.
Oblivion is in Cinemas now.