Film Face-off: Tom Cruise's 'Minority Report' vs. Tom Cruise's 'Oblivion'

Film Face-off: Tom Cruise's 'Minority Report' vs. Tom Cruise's 'Oblivion'

Apr 22, 2013

Tom Cruise is a star. Doesn't matter how you've decided to feel about his personal life, but his box office success is almost unmatched. With all of the films he's appeared in (36 and counting) Oblivion is only his third science fiction. So what would happen if Tom Cruise fought Tom Cruise? Well, that's a mission that's just impossible. So instead let's have this Film Face-off be Tom Cruise's Minority Report vs. Tom Cruise's Oblivion.

If you're wondering where War of the Worlds is, in a behind-the-scenes Film Face-off, it was destroyed 5-0 vs. Minority Report. It wasn't even close. Let's see if Cruise's latest with director Joseph Kosinski can compare to his first collaboration with Steven Spielberg from all the way back in 2002. I will attempt to not reveal any plot spoilers for Oblivion, but Minority Report is fair game.

 

Tom Cruise's Character

Minority Report

Chief John Anderton is the greatest PreCrime cop of all time. He's at his best when standing in front of a giant computer screen, using his hands to slide through future thoughts, determining where murders will happen. He's also pretty good when the tables are turned, and he's the one being hunted. He's haunted by the memory of losing his child.

Oblivion

Jack Harper is two weeks away from heading to Titan. In the meantime, he has to continue repairing drones, which are guarding what remains of Earth's water supply. He's the type who will take chances even when the boss doesn't think it's a good idea, and he's at his best when it's life or death. He's also pretty good when the tables are turned, and he's unsure about his role in this crazy thing called life. He's haunted by dreams of a woman he's never met.

Winner: Tom Cruise's Minority Report. John Anderton is the best of the best. Jack is really good, but we don't have a greater sense of his character until much later in the film. It's also never a good sign in movies when you are two weeks away from something coming to an end. It's the burden that is the real reason Minority Report wins here though. You feel his pain, his longing for the life he used to have. That connects you to the story, and makes you realize why he'd even consider killing the character Leo Crow. Jack is more of a blank slate, except for his dreaming of New York City, which felt very thin.

 

Supporting Cast 

Minority Report

Max von Sydow is Director Lamar Burgess, Colin Farrell is the gum-chewing investigator Danny, Samantha Morton is the precog Agatha, and Tim Blake Nelson is Gideon. Plus there's an odd cameo by Cameron Crowe, and Spielberg's stepdaughter Jessica Capshaw gets in the action.

Oblivion

Osar-winner Morgan Freeman is Beech, Olga Kurylenko is Julia, Andrea Riseborough is Victoria, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is Sykes, and Oscar-winner Melissa Leo is Sally.

Winner: Tom Cruise's Minority Report. For coolness, and insanely awesome presence, I believe Sydow and Freeman cancel each other out. Oblivion can boast about having someone from the cast of Game of Thrones with Coster-Waldau, but it's a Lannister. With the power of hindsight, Minority Report definitely wins with Farrell, Morton and Nelson all becoming bigger after Minority Report, but they also have more memorable performances than the cast of Oblivion. With Oblivion, Riseborough's performance is the only one that I think I will hold onto, besides Cruise.

 

Special Effects

Minority Report

It's the year 2054 in Minority Report, and they bring out the toys with a futuristic computer screen, fancy digs, jet packs, programmable cars on the streets of Washington, D.C., computer spiders, and sonic boom guns.

Oblivion

It's the year 2077 in Oblivion, and we have a bubble helicopter, fancy digs, space suits, a barren New York City, drones, delta sleep (it's really long), triangle spaceships, and a dirt bike that looks normal.

Winner: Tom Cruise's Oblivion. I love the look of Minority Report, I swear. But if I can get a little picky, Spielberg overdoes it on the white/blue tint on the whole film. There's also attacking plants which feel like overkill. Plus, it's all amazing window dressing, that isn't the focus of the film. The look of Oblivion takes center stage. That bubble helicopter thing is amazing. Not since the batpod from The Dark Knight have I wanted a fictitious object so bad. There are also certain moments that I don't want to give away that Oblivion handles very well. That's right, I'm evoking the power of having seen the film and saying, "Just trust me."

 

Action

Minority Report

Minority Report has chase scene where John hops from one car (traveling vertical) to another. There's another where he fights off a slew of his cop buddies in an alley. Most importantly, there is plenty of Tom Cruise running.

Oblivion

Oblivion has quick moments of action as Jack fights off Scavs. There is a chase with computer drones going after Jack's bubble helicopter. There is very little Tom Cruise running.

Winner: Tom Cruise's Minority Report. The flight chase scene in Oblivion is fantastic and part of the reason why Oblivion won the Special Effects category. But it's also borrowed from Star Wars. The key though, is the running by Cruise. Look, Tom Cruise's Hollywood Running Hall of Fame should be a thing. He's the best there ever was. There are even YouTube clips like this dedicated to him. Anytime you have Cruise in a film, he needs to be running for at least 10 percent of it. That should be a rule. What's amazing is, his best running in Minority Report actually comes in a room. He runs from one side to the other to tackle Leo Crow. It's lighting fast and once again proves why a made up Hollywood running hall of fame should be named after him.

 

Twists, Turns and the Ending

Minority Report

John thinks he's fighting the good fight, until he realizes that the director is actually trying to cover his tracks and PreCrime might not be the perfect system. It looks like Lamar is going to get away with murder, literally, not figuratively. John has been captured, and is lowered into the prison where he will dream forever.

Oblivion

While Jack thinks he's just two weeks away from joining the rest of what remains of humanity, fate has other plans for him. Jack attempts to save humanity, and while I will once again not spoil plots, I will say that there are a surprising amount of twists and turns that feel familiar to Minority Report.

Winner: Tom Cruise's Minority Report. Did you see what I did in the above description? I wrote how Minority Report should have ended. Instead, it actually ends with John's wife helping him escape, where he can turn the tables of Lamar, and the precogs can live happily ever after. John and his wife also live happily ever after as she's now expecting a new child. I wish Spielberg would have given us a dark ending, and stopped the film at 2:02 instead of going until 2:25, but that's not how Spielberg rolls. Minority Report actually ends with a cabin in the woods and precogs reading by the fire. Sigh. Overall though, I was surprised a few more times in Minority Report than I was in Oblivion. While I enjoyed them, I saw the twists and turns coming in Oblivion, but perhaps I am alone. My friend who saw the film with me was shocked by what he was seeing.

 

OVERALL WINNER: Tom Cruise's Minority Report, four to one. While that looks like a decisive victory, I gave Minority Report a 9/10, and Oblivion an 8/10. With Minority Report I was legitimately confused a few times, and felt like I was trying to constantly catch up to the mystery at hand. With Oblivion I kept having the sense of feeling like I knew what was going to happen next, and that ended up being correct. Minority Report should have ended 20 minutes early, Oblivion should have ended three minutes earlier. I should have been able to see Minority Report in the IMAX, Oblivion looks and sounds amazing in the IMAX. It was a close battle, but the best Tom Cruise science fiction film won. For those keeping track Cruise's name was mentioned 23 times in this article. You're welcome.

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