‘Oblivion’ Visually Stunning, Lacks Plot

Nathan Fisher

Illustration by Ruth Hwang
Illustration by Ruth Hwang

After a grueling week of studying, I looked forward to escaping to the theater to sit back, relax, have a few laughs and be entertained. Unfortunately, the only new movie released this week was the sci-fi movie “Oblivion,” starring Tom Cruise. I halfheartedly convinced one of my RA buddies that the movie would be good. Well, the movie stunk, but we had fun exchanging fake looks of disbelief as the “plot twists” kept coming.

“Oblivion” is set in the year 2077, 60 years after an alien invasion has left Earth in ruins. Although the humans won the war, Earth became uninhabitable and the remaining humans escaped to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. The movie follows Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), a technician still on Earth repairing the drones guarding the massive machines extracting what is left of Earth’s resources to send to the Titan colony. Jack and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), his communications officer by day and friend with benefits by night, live in a spectacular house thousands of feet in the air.

Jack, a 50-plus-year-old maverick, flies around in an oddly-shaped spacecraft to view what is left of Earth. The only communication Jack and Victoria have with humanity is through the Tet, a gigantic space station orbiting Earth, the stopping point for people on their way to Titan. The plot seems to be a wannabe “Planet of the Apes” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and then in a bizarre twist, Morgan Freeman’s character, Malcolm Beech, enters the picture, captures Jack and turns Jack’s world upside down. Really, the plot line is a dud, and never finds its stride.

Visually, the movie was stunning and popped. I felt transported into another world with only snippets remaining of pre-nuclear Earth. The sequences in space, with the currently controversial drones, the ships flying through the air, and the gigantic explosions were absolutely breathtaking! However, “Oblivion” fell into one of the classic pitfalls of sci-fi movies in which the plot is seemingly thrown together last-minute to fit with the mind-blowing visuals and special effects.

The super cool visuals simply could not save the subpar plot line. When the credits started rolling at the end of the movie, many questions were left unanswered––and not in a good way. That being said, the movie does answer the question I’ve been asking for years. If Tom Cruise were to fight Tom Cruise, who would win? You probably shouldn’t bother to find out.