Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion (2013)
Oblivion (2013) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Bill Arceneaux (Three Beers) –

Whenever Tom Cruise is mentioned to or around me, Scientology is inevitably brought up. Have any of you seen that SouthPark episode where Tom locks himself in a closet, and the basis for the religion is explained in the most cartoonish of ways? I can no longer watch Magnolia or Rain Man without thinking about all of that…


“Now I’m in the closet too.”

…but it hasn’t hurt my enjoyment of most of his movies. I believe I brought up the fact that the man is “crazy awesome” in my Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol review, and I fully stand by that. He may be eccentric, but he seems to properly tap into that element when it comes to action. And hey, at least he’s not vile like Mel Gibson gets at times (sorry Mel).

As an actor with an incredible amount of clout, he keeps a tight grip on his brand, and probably has a lot of say into who directs his next project. With Oblivion, I’m willing to bet that after reading the script, he suggested someone with enough visual flair to compensate for whatever inadequacies might be present in the story.

And, for that, I offer to Tom A Toast.

In his latest blockbuster, Tom plays yet another character with a simple name – Jack Harper – who gets caught up in something complicated. Set about 60 or so years into the future, Earth has been laid to waste after a war with aliens. We won, but the planet has been lost. He’s a technician assigned to maintaining the drones that protect the energy mining machines that gather what can be used for the remaining humans. Nearing the end of his mission, an old ship crash lands, revealing a woman he has seen in his dreams. This leads to a revelation that will turn his world upside down.

Having caught the movie in IMAX, I can safely say that it is one of the prettiest and sharpest sci fi flicks I’ve ever seen. The gadgets, the explosions and the environment all match together seamlessly. Director Joseph Kosinski really knows his way around effects and props, and that knack is perfect here. I wanted to go and buy a Wii joystick after the movie just so I could pretend. I’m almost 28 years old, people.


Where’s my Doritos? Cause I’m gonna wreck this game…

With a combination of epic feeling music and a classically executed adventure story, Oblivion is true Hollywood fun. I didn’t have any snacks on me, but had I had an Icee, it would’ve all been perfect. Go get yourself a treat beforehand.

Beer Two

I couldn’t help but think that this story was meant for either a longer movie or a franchise of movies. Despite the small cast, it has a lot of interesting things going on that would be best fleshed out over 3 hours. Instead of slowly going over the backstory, and letting things unfold naturally, Morgan Freeman just explains everything in about two minutes. The again, if you’re gonna have someone exposit the entire plot, Morgan is the best man to pick.

Beer Three

Something that distinguishes sci fi from other genres is the ability to provide insight into political and philosophical issues in a creative and easy to handle manner. Something that distinguishes Oblivion from other sci fi movies is that it doesn’t do any of that. But hey – doesn’t it look nice?



It’s sleek, slick and pretty simple. Tom Cruise knows what works, and gives us exactly that. And, like the popcorn we all order, this movie will be eaten up. And that’s ok.

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: if you wanted to visit an Apple store afterwards.

Take a Drink: when you realize that David Lynch’s Dune was slightly more creative.

Do a Shot: because Tom Cruise is one of the best seasonings that Hollywood has.

About Bill Arceneaux

Independent film critic from New Orleans and member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA).


  1. Henry J. Fromage

    This seems about right. I loved the look of the film and its world-building, but the plot was pretty spare once it all came together. And goddam, that ending was nails on chalkboard levels of saccharine.

    • This movie was lame. Boring story line. Cheesy acting. Cliche love story. No dramatic build up. No surprises. The human equivalent of a dumb blonde. Looks good, but disappointing in every other category.

      • I kinda disagree. It was actually paced fairly well, establishing where the main characters are at, then introduces the conflict at the right time. Also didn’t find much cheesiness.

        Ultimately, it’s more action than sci fi, and rushes a bit at the end instead of achieving the epic feel the rest of the movie was striving for.

      • Russian Bear! Same director as Tron, so I can see how ya feel that way.

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