Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Tom Cruise “Oblivion” Premiere: Shakes Fans’ Hands, Skips Party, Saves World (Again)


Well, you can’t have everything. The Hollywood premiere of “Oblivion” at the Dolby Theater was a good news, bad news story: Tom Cruise did his usual routine of shaking every hand and signing every autograph with fans who were held back by barricades lest they devour their favorite star like a morsel of catnip. On the other hand, Cruise did this for so long that the movie started very late. By the time it ended, he was long gone, and skipped the after party.

The good news: even though “Oblivion” is hard to follow, our Leah Sydney liked it. After she encountered Cameron Crowe, Mark Burnett and Tom and Nicole Kidman’s high school deejay son Connor in the lobby, she settled down with popcorn in hand:


“Oblivion'” is groundbreaking, chock full of innovation in every way, exhilarating, albeit a tad confusing and fuzzy. Joseph Kosinski, who previously helmed “Tron: Legacy,” brings to life his vision of post-apocalyptic Earth with such originality, mystery and intrigue that even a non sci fan cannot help but be enthralled.  “Life of Pi” Oscar winner Claudio Miranda shot this, and he should expect another nomination next year.  The visuals are enveloping and stunning.

To explain the narrative is pretty much futile, since the only people that can truly follow this will be fan boy/girls total sci fi geeks.  Without giving too much away, the film takes place in 2077; years after the people of Earth fought a war with the evil space invaders, the Scavengers. Tom, playing tortured fighter pilot and technician Jack Harper,  is one of the last men still on Earth.

The rest of the film is Tom Cruise righting wrongs and finding his way to his true home in every sense of the word.  Bottom line though, Cruise never disappoints.  He literally owns that screen with his fabled intensity, which has only gotten stronger over the years. Coupled with the stunning spectacle of the visual effects and the sound, ‘Oblivion,’ will be the first mega hit of 2013.

The ladies fare extremely well too. Melissa Leo, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko are all terrific and hold their own against formidable Cruise.  Morgan Freeman always adds class and gravitas.  ‘Oblivion’ is a feast for your eyes and a bit of a puzzle for your brain.  But you won’t be bored, not even for a second.

“Oblivion” opens around the world beginning today, and in the US next Friday April 19th.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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