Review by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 124 minutes
✭✭✭✭✭✩✩✩✩✩
Score: 5/10

Like a lover, the worst thing a futuristic science fiction movie can be is unimaginative and predictable, and Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion is a visually stimulating but entirely uninspired lay.

The year is 2077, 60 years after an alien race called Scavengers (“Scavs”) blew up the moon and invaded Earth to strip its natural resources. Humanity has fought off the aliens with nukes, but in the process rendered the planet uninhabitable, and fled to a space station, Titan. Commander Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), a.k.a. Tech 42, and his teammate, communications officer and lover Victoria Olsen (Andrea Riseborough), remain on the big ball of blue and green to oversee the extraction of Earth’s water supply and maintain a fleet of armed drones that protect their hydro-rigs and fight off a Scav resistance. For mission security, their minds have been wiped.

With two weeks left on their mission, by-the-book Victoria, who never descends from their deluxe apartment in the sky and disgustedly tosses a flowering proof-of-life plant Jack brings her because it might introduce toxins to their environment, is eager to rejoin mankind on Titan; Jack feels a stronger connection to the planet. He pines for a past he can’t have known, sporting a Yankees cap, recounting a classic 2017 Super Bowl, and collecting books, vinyl, and other evidence of the human soul. When he sleeps, his dreams are haunted by visions of a woman he’s never met (Olga Kurylenko) on a pre-apocalyptic Empire State Building. Jack eventually meets that mystery woman, astronaut Julia Rusakova, when a vessel carrying a team of hibernating NASA employees crashes to Earth. Subsequent capture by Scavs, who are not what they seemed, leads Jack to question who he is and what he’s doing.

Even if Morgan Freeman’s human resistance leader Malcolm Beech didn’t appear in the trailer, spoiling the presence of other humans on Earth and informing Jack that “The people you work for lied to you,” it comes as no great surprise. Nor do the movie’s other revelations (Who is Julia to Jack? What secret does the high-radiation zones that Jack has been ordered to avoid hold? Why does Sally, Jack and Victoria’s mission control, played by Melissa Leo, sound like Siri?).

Kosinski, who delivered a beautiful-looking sleep aid with 2010’s Tron: Legacy, is again preoccupied with visuals to the detriment of logical storytelling and complex ideas. The bombed-out scenery and spectacular action sequences are pleasing to the eyes—when they’re not rolling. Oblivion’s twists are so obvious and derivative of more inventive sci-fi properties (The Matrix, Battlestar Galactica, Independence Day, the Portal video games) that you can’t help wishing this vision of the future involved time travel so you could zoom to the inevitable big-bang climax.

Like that disappointing lay, it'll do if you've got nothing better planned on a Friday night, but you'll have forgotten about it by the morning after.

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Review by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)