A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Oblivion is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller that deals with the survival of humanity and a mysterious, violent alien threat. There are drones that kill instantly and turn their victims into ashes; several people die, including a few major characters. The language is pretty tame except for an occasional "s--t" and "damn" -- and one particularly memorable "f--k you." Sexuality includes a few passionate kisses and one seduction scene in which a woman is shown naked from the back. Oblivion is likely to appeal most to families with older teens who are either Tom Cruise fans or partial to futuristic action flicks.
What's the story?
In the year 2077, humans no longer live on Earth but instead reside on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Left behind are Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), a clean-up crew of sorts who are tasked with repairing drones before they, too, can join the rest of the surviving population on Titan. But Jack's mission changes when he rescues NASA astronaut Julia (Olga Kurylenko) from her ship's crash. It's clear that Jack may not have the complete truth -- and that the alien "Scavengers" roaming the Earth may not be the threat that Jack and Victoria have been warned about. After meeting the head of the Scavs, Jack must decide whether he's going to follow the mission's assignment or to believe strangers he feels inexplicably compelled to trust.
Is it any good?
Director Joseph Kosinski does a better job with OBLIVION than he did with his debut film, Tron: Legacy, but it's clear he's a filmmaker whose strength is stylized, visually arresting storytelling. The cinematography is terrific, with sweeping landscapes of post-apocalyptic New York, and the action sequences are pulse-pounding thanks to Cruise's mastery of the genre. Cruise manages to have decent chemistry with not one but two women -- the prim rules-follower played by Riseborough and the enigmatic woman of Jack's dreams, Kurylenko. It takes an extraordinary leading man to pull that kind of emotional connection off, and Cruise is up to the task.
One of the best moments in Oblivion is when viewers first hear co-star Morgan Freeman's powerful voice before the lights turn on and his face is revealed. Few actors can exude Freeman's gravitas with such few words. Game of Thrones fans will also be pleased to see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau make an appearance. But in the end, this is a Cruise film all the way. How entertaining you consider the movie depends greatly on how good of an action star you consider him, because the third act does border on the overlong and unsatisfying. Still, despite its subpar story resolution, Oblivion is good enough to remember.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the violence in the movie compare to other sci-fi/action movies you've seen? Does the fact that some of the combatants are aliens give it any more/less impact?
- In theaters: April 19, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: August 6, 2013
- Cast: Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Cruise
- Director: Joseph Kosinski
- Studio: Universal Studios
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Space and aliens
- Run time: 126 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.