"Oblivion," the sci-fi mind-bender topping the box office charts this week, is the first big popcorn movie of the season. Set in the year 2077, the film stars Tom Cruise and is notable for being an original story by director Joseph Kosinski –- not a franchise reboot or adaptation.
Original sci-fi movies are something of a commodity these days, even though it's almost impossible anymore to come up with a truly original sci-fi story. The territory has been thoroughly mapped for 100 years in cinema and a few hundred years before then in literature.
"Oblivion" doesn't break much new ground, but it does take several classic science fiction tropes and sorts them into new and interesting combinations. In fact, the film takes on a remarkable number of major genre themes, each based in real-world scientific issues and conjecture. You might say it throws in everything but the kitchen sink. Oops, wait a sec. There's a kitchen sink scene, too.