– James Edward Hicks contributed to this report

“Oblivion” is the latest flick from sci-fi veteran Tom Cruise, who finds himself on clean up patrol on an apocalyptic earth.

New sci-fi film "Oblivion" hits the big screen this month, starring Tom Cruise. Photo: Universal

It’s set 60 years after a brutal war with an alien race called the Scavengers, who obliterated Earth’s moon, which has resulted in geological ciaos. Captain Jack Harper (Cruise) and his operations manager Victoria Olsen (played by Andrea Riseborough) are entrusted in maintaining repairs and fending off stray scavengers.

In an age where the cinema theatre is bloated with sequels, reboots and adaptions, this is a breath of air in a world of unoriginality – although a rather foul stench of breath, at that.

Director Joseph Kosinski, who was responsible for the visually pleasing yet emotionally lacking “Tron Legacy”, directs the first movie to kick off the summer blockbuster season.

Captain Harper’s memory has been wiped clean, and as his memories slowly return to him like shattered fragments as he tries to piece together his life. However, everything he thinks he knows about himself collapses when a visitor from his past crashes down to Earth. Much like the lead character, it is hard to recall what happens.

With a running time of two hours, it feels painstakingly longer as the pace stutters along while thinking it is making progress. Although heavy with detail, it is strange that nothing really happens. Suffering from deluded self-grandeur, it believes that is far cleverer than it actually is.

Too lazy to conjure up something original it instead borrows heavily from much better sci-fi flicks such as “Wall-E”, “Moon”, and even Hal from “2001 A Space Odyssey”.

The film reeks of Disney Pixar’s “Wall-E”, even down to Cruise’s character, who is filled with sheer enchantment at Earth’s simple pleasures and materialistic possessions. However, this film could have benefited from “Wall-E’s” more subdued dialogue.

Kosinski describes it as a throwback to the classic science fiction films of his youth but, in doing so, it fails to gain a personality of its own.

Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylenko bring their usual strong performances, however they are not helped by the lacklustre script, which contains convoluted twists resulting in stale ideas that are neither interesting nor new.

This film tragically suffers the same flaws as “Tron Legacy”, with more emphasis focused on the visual effects than developing the people that inhabit the space. At times it feels as if the characters are mere puppets, used to dance in front of the visually pleasing backgrounds.

Much like the plot, the score also lacks any creativity; the music feels rather intrusive at times and is pleading to be like “The Dark Knight”, but this obvious copycat falls short of Hans Zimmer’s dark, ominous tone.

Hardcore fans of science fiction and Tom Cruise may enjoy this “Oblivion”, but don’t expect anything new.

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