Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

DVD review: Oblivion

Alexander Skarsgard. Matthew Goode. Or Richard Armitage. Just three actors who would have done a better job than Tom Cruise in this so-so sci-fi film from Tron: Legacy's Joseph Kosinski.

Heck, even Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - who shows up here as some sort of futuristic rebel fighter in dirty clothes with a very big gun - would probably have been a better choice than Cruise, who seems more than a little miscast.

If Cruise seems distracted, it's probably because Oblivion - a post-apocalyptic tale in which nuclear weapons have desolated Earth save for a handful of outlaws led by Morgan Freeman - was filmed in Russia around the time Katie Holmes dropped her divorce bombshell on him.

Cruise plays Jack Harper, a drone repairman who works in tandem with his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) to help keep power generators churning for giant spaceship hovering above Earth, upon which the few remaining human survivors live.

Oblivion looks amazing: The spaceships are excellent, the film's shiny, overbright vibe fits perfectly, and the frequent sweeping shots of desolate landscapes and barren fields are breathtaking. As one of Cruise's two love interests, Riseborough is creepily cool.

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And there's a stunning set piece towards the end involving a nail-biting indoor drone attack.

But the film, an otherwise excellent genre piece, is hindered by a convoluted story, occasional plot holes, predictable twists and Cruise's presence. This is one film that didn't need a superstar in the lead role.

Extras: Deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and a commentary featuring Curise and Kosinski.
Stars: 3/5


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