Oblivion returns Tom Cruise to the sci-fi genre, where he's found success in the past by collaborating with director Steven Spielberg on the blockbusters Minority Report and War of the Worlds. This time, Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) is directing from a script that was rewritten by Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Star Wars: Episode VII).
A new international trailer follows the previous marketing trend, focusing on Cruise and the filmmakers behind Oblivion - including, producers Peter Cherin and Dylan Clark (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) - as well as shiny visual effects and the mystery plot. However, it also reveals Oscar-winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter) as Cruise's boss, whose bubbly manner and accent disguises hidden intentions.
Costarring Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough (W.E.) and Olga Kurylenko (Magic City), Oblivion takes place on a futuristic Earth where the petrified remains of skyscrapers and landmarks (like the Superdome and Washington Monument) are all that's left after a devastating alien invasion sixty years before. The sparse landscapes and translucent technology are based on illustrations from Andree Wallins, for a currently-unpublished graphic novel that Kosiniski created and co-wrote with Arvid Nelson.
Cruise stars as Jack, a drone repairman stationed on the planet with his partner (Riseborough) and only two weeks left until they leave the ruined world behind for good. No surprise, things don't go according to plan, as the arrival of a mysterious woman (Kurylenko) from Jack's dreams (Or are they memories?) leads him to discover that everything he's been told about Earth's recent history is a lie.
Truth be told, Cruise just isn't the surefire box office draw he used to be, following on the heels of his past three movies landing all over the board financially - with one flopping (Rock of Ages), one falling short of insuring a new franchise (Jack Reacher) and one proving that many people still do love watching the 50-year old perform superhuman stunts (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol). It's partly for that reason our staff is waiting to see where Oblivion falls in the 'war' between science-fiction and superheroes for the attention of film geeks.
After all, the film has an excellent cast, intriguing premise and creative visual style - but will that be enough to attract the masses and prove that brand recognition isn't necessary for a blockbuster success? Considering the number of other original sci-fi movies arriving this year (see: After Earth, Pacific Rim, Elysium), it'll be a while before that question is answered in full.
Look for Oblivion exclusively in IMAX theaters on April 12th, 2013. It will open in regular theaters a week later.