Film: Oblivion

Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster Waldau, Morgan Freeman

Director: Joseph Kosinski

A dystopian future earth, evil space invaders, oh-so-very-stylish gadgetry… Oblivion samples many tropes from the sci-fi universe and is worth seeing just for its production values.

Oblivion is set in 2077. We learn that the human race was victorious in a battle against alien invaders, but earth was rendered uninhabitable. Mankind has gathered in the Tet, an off-world space station, as the last step in an emigration to Titan.

Tom Cruise puts in a solid, likeable performance as Jack Harper, the technician-soldier who seems to be the last person on earth along with Vika (Andrea Riseborough), his lover and liaison officer with the Tet.

Harper is full of unsettling questions about his life and world. He has memories of a former earth and a beautiful woman — and is confused when the lone survivor he rescues from a mysterious crash turns out to be the woman of his dreams. That would be Julia (Olga Kurylenko) a human time-traveller from 2017. Playing the other characters in Jack’s story are Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Satisfying sci-fi also needs to ask some of the big questions — who are we, where do we come from, what does it mean to be human — via cool protagonists. Oblivion is fabulous eye-candy that’s a bit low in nutritional value.

Parvathi Nayar