I found the second J.J. Abrams' Star Trek to be far superior to the first, since it cares less about pleasing fans and more about pleasing everyone. Its an air-tight film with quick pacing, eye-popping special effects, and expectedly great direction. Its smart, witty, and contains reliable performances. Really, the biggest problem is that its hard to find an original idea in any part of the film - besides looking better than most sci-fi movies, its noticeably packed with cliches.
"Oblivion" is a beautiful movie, and it's always good to see an original sci-fi film now and then. Unfortunately, its style only takes this post-apocalyptic journey so far. The film is hamstrung by characters that are as barren as the desolate landscapes they traverse, and the science fiction tropes pile up to create a congested second half full of cliches and forced twists seen in other, better sci-fi films. The actors may be talented, but the script gives them very little to work with (especially the exceptionally wasted Morgan Freeman). While you may not find much to care about in the story, its still a fun ride. The special effects are well-done, especially when it comes to the mechanical elements like the intimidating drones, which move with both a weightiness and agility that combines to form something you would definitely not want to meet in a dark alley, and Tom Cruise's ship is a really imaginative piece of futuristic technology as well. M83's score is a mixed bag. Choosing this band for this movie is the absolute perfect choice, as they have that epic, desolate futuristic-yet-retro feel to them to begin with. Unfortunately, the score they have composed rarely sounds like their 'actual' music as much as it does an imitation of contemporary blockbuster scores. Had they gone their own route (or used some tracks from their discography), they could have came up with something that really made 'Oblivion' stand out from the pack. This is just an example of the larger problem with 'Oblivion': it isn't a bad movie, but in every instance where it has a chance to be a pioneer and do something fresh, it falls back on the crutches of the past, and ends up feeling rather generic as a result.