‘Oblivion’: Cruise is Cruise, silence the score and more

It's Tom Cruise, looking like he has in pretty much every movie since Top Gun.

It’s Tom Cruise, looking like he has in pretty much every movie since Top Gun.

* I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by how much I liked Oblivion. I thought it was well written, well-directed, terrific cast, good but not showy special effects. I hadn’t heard great things. It’s not a classic, no, but it seemed like After Earth – which starred the increasingly less likable Will Smith, was directed by the almost completely unlikable M. Night Shyamalan and was very poorly reviewed – got much more attention for all of the wrong reasons. Phht. Hollywood.

* Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise in nearly every movie. He’s become the John Wayne of action flicks you can take a date to see. Yes, there are exceptions over the course of his career, most notably his turns as the devilish Frank TJ Mackey in Magnolia and super agent Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder, but mostly it’s that same smiling, vanilla madman each and every time. It’s worked for him, so who am I to judge?

* How much better with this movie have been if the score had been eliminated? Just the silence of an empty world, broken only by the sounds of machines at work, infrequent dialogue and the three classic rock songs astronaut Jack listens to on vinyl? I don’t know how much freedom director Joseph Kosinski had in that regard, but it really would have provided some eerieness as well as opening up the film by giving the viewer some time to just absorb the “actual” surroundings. Instead, every time there was an opening we got ear-rammed by some guy who was way too in love with the Tron soundtrack.

* Now I’m looking forward to Edge of Tomorrow, which looks kind of like Terminator meets Groundhog Day from the trailer. Cruise is getting more Tom Hanks in his choices, going with what’s interesting instead of just what will add another layer of gold to the Tommy altar. And Emily Blunt is rapidly becoming the female Matt Damon: Worth watching every time.

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