The long gestating Tom Cruise led sci-fi epic has finally landed in spectacular looking fashion leaving us with the obvious inevitable question “so… is this as good as it looks, because it looks freaking awesome?”. Unfortunately this leads to a slightly more complicated answer which goes something like this “hmm…Yeah! … Well kind of… err… ok, it could have been a bit better”, and to be honest your confusion would be well placed. You see there is a lot about this film to like, in fact a heck of a lot. First off, this film looks gorgeous, brilliantly realised its drenched in absolutely stunning visual vistas of a post apocalyptic Earth and a half destroyed Moon. The tech, living areas and costumes are likewise excellently thought out, sumptuous and all superbly stylized. The score is also thematically epic in nature, with awe inspiring bass notes which help push and set this epic post apocalyptic reality in its ultra modern setting. The story is also pretty cool and structurally strong, following the invasion and subsequent environmental destruction of Earth, Oblivion tells the tale of one of the last remnant post of humanities cleanup crew, charged with the maintenance of drones that protect the huge fusion reactors which process the seas into fusion energy for Earth’s new home on Jupiter’s largest moon, Titan, from the last of the alien invaders known as Scavs. The story creates an interesting post apocalyptic world ever looked over by a cool looking big brother pyramid space station called the ‘Tet’ and opens itself up to good memory mysteries and twists which become nicely resolved as we step through the story. Likewise I didn’t really have a problem with the cast; Tom Cruise delivered a strong weighty performance as lead Jack Harper, admirably attempting to pull the story into Last Samurai territory; Morgan Freeman also adds additional weighty gravitas and potential as freedom fighter, Beech; and the two female leads also delivering strong performances in the form of Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough, if not a little cold in terms of the latter, and unfortunately here is where we hit our problem. For despite all its efforts to the contrary this is a film which ultimately lacks the heart it really required to become the classic it could have been. And that’s a shame because you really do watch this movie and want it to be awesome. And to be honest it’s just a few moments where the emotional envelope could have been pushed further and didn’t quite connect. Yes, there are some moments of cheese which could have been done better with the harsh angle of reality and yes, some more moments of amusement that actually landed well would have been welcomed and helped to warm things, and yes these are all ultimately minor squabbles in a very good film. But you know, maybe it’s those little tweaks that separate good films from great films, from the classics – and in the end if I had to sum it up (which I do) I’d say Oblivion comes across a little over-polished and try hard at times, and as a result loses some of the humanity it really needs. That said it’s a really good movie that looks totally awesome, but I genuinely live in hope that maybe there’s a director’s cut or extended version out there with the emotional punches that would just push this film over into awesome classic territory and make it great! Or maybe it gets better on a second watch, and I’m writing this retrospectively smiling by the way, because it really does!