Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Three and One Half Stars
Science fiction is less a genre than a society, and to join, one must pay tribute to the council of elders. More than any other genre, fans of science fiction scour their films for references to the titans of its heritage. The allusions are often scattered throughout as deliberate, coy visual cues, not unlike a word search. It is customary, for example, to represent any malicious artificial intelligence with the ominous red eye of HAL 9000 from Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" ("Red Planet", "Moon", "WALL-E"...). But that's just one example, and one of many that Joseph Kosinski conjures in the clever and striking "Oblivion", a science-fiction blockbuster in the classic sense, placing lavish visuals and exciting action in the service of simple and elegant political ideas.