Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Tom Cruise stars as Tech 49 Jack Harper. Earth has been devastated after a conflict with an alien race called the Scavs (short for scavengers). Nuclear weapons were used and eventually the aliens were driven back. A handful remain but they are more of a nuisance than an actual problem. Jack’s job is to maintain and monitor hydrorigs which are converting the earth’s water into energy. Humans have evacuated the devastated Earth and are moving to Titan to begin anew. He’s aided in his efforts by Victoria “Vika” Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) who is also his lover. They both report to Sally (Melissa Leo) who lives on the Tet with the rest of humanity.
Jack has his doubts about everything. He has memories of a woman he knows yet has never met (Olga Kurylenko). She comes to him in dreams on a nightly basis, but he doesn’t know why she’s important. At first he doesn’t even know her name or the sound of her voice but he still longs for her.
Everything changes one day when the Scavs bring down a prewar Earth spacecraft. Maintenance drones arrive moments before he does and begin shooting the survivors that are sleeping in pods. All but one is wiped out: the woman from his dreams. And now he has to struggle to keep her safe and figure what is really going on.
It’s a post-apocalyptic alien invasion film but it manages to have hope. I don’t know how it does it but there is hope throughout this movie. There is hope that we will overcome, and we will survive. They don’t crush you here a feeling of this being the end. It’s more of a rebirth.
Somehow the movie manages a happy ending even though the main character dies. That’s not an easy trick to pull off. What should be a downbeat ending becomes a happy one. Julia (Olga Kurylenko), the woman that has been haunting Jack’s dreams and that he has been protecting, is at a secret cabin that Jack 49 had been maintaining (built?). It was something that she and the real Jack had talked about but never got to do. Jack 52, who is implied to have been having the same dreams, finds her there. In a way Jack still lives and they get a happily ever after together.
The script manages plenty of twists and turns. It sets you up to believe this is a straightforward type of alien invasion film but it’s not. I still remember being wowed learning that everything what we had learned in the beginning was a lie. The cloning twist was especially good too. And creepy. They just mass produced the same two people for decades. Each was a near exact copy of the original. In that way the movie touches on what makes us unique and who we are. Were these clones all Jack and Vika or were they each a unique being? And what became of their predecessors?
The special effects are fantastic. Nothing looks fake. That can always be a bit tough in any movie, so you must suspend your disbelief a little but here there is no need for that. Everything blends seamlessly together. I’m still not 100% sure what’s a practical effect and what’s been put in with computers and I’ve seen the movie about a dozen times.
I love the music. The films score is beautiful and almost ethereal. It adds to and boosts what you see in the film. And the pop song choices are spot on. Too many films are clumsy about this. They work perfectly in this movie. They don’t half ass it at all.
Oblivion is one of the better science-fiction movies of the last 15 years. It’s just a great film. It’s beautifully shot, exquisitely scripted with great acting and has an amazing soundtrack. I highly recommend it.