Oblivion

2013’s Oblivion is a  post-apocalyptic science fiction film based on Joseph Kosinski’s Radical Comics-edited unpublished graphic novel of the same name. The film was co-written, produced and directed by Kosinski. The movie stars Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo & Morgan Freeman. It was released in April of this year.

The movie reminds me a lot of Planet of The Apes, Moon & oddly enough Logan’s Run. The movie is set in the year 2077 but to understand what happens we have to check out the events of the year 2017. I’m going to do this the opposite way than in the movie so as to tell a story, the story of the movie. It will be less confusing for me as I type it down. So, NASA diverts a space shuttle, the Odyssey, carrying astronauts Jack Harper & Victoria “Vic” Olsen towards a the Tet (as it will come to be known as), an alien artificial intelligence housed inside a massive tetrahedral space station that appears near Saturn. Upon approach, the Tet drew them in with a tractor beam. Recognizing that capture was imminent, Jack was able to jettison the passengers, which included his wife Julia, who orbited for sixty years in suspended animation. The alien intelligence then used Jack & Vic to make up thousands of clones, with their memories wiped that have been ruled under a police state. The Tet also used powerful flying drones to decimate the planet of Earth, destroyed the moon that caused lots of tsunamis & massive earthquakes. A vast majority of the planet lies in deserted & uninhabitable conditions. The surviving humans were forced to dress in  metal armours that prevent them from being recognized as humans and shot on sight by the drones and live as scavengers in isolated underground buildings. However the clones of Jack & Vic do not know this.

The  clones of Jack & Vic believe that the earth was invaded by an alien race known as Scavs, who destroyed the moon and killed many humans. They were only defeated by the use of nuclear weapons, which left most of the planet irradiated and uninhabitable. The Tet uses one clone of each of them to man from bases that hover well above the earth’s surface & also act as the couple’s homes. Each base is assigned a number and each Jack acts as a techman repairing the drones and each Vic acts as the supervisor controlling things from the base with the help of advanced technologic equipment. Our movie focuses on the Jack also known as Tech 49 as he & his Vic live in Base 49. Each day the couple wake up have breakfast after which Jack & Vic work as a team to maintain the autonomous drones that defend the power stations from the few remaining Scav bandits. They receive their orders from Sally, their mission commander, who is stationed on the Tet. The couples believe that the Tet is a human space station that orbits the Earth. They have also been programmed to believe that the surviving mankind has settled on Saturn’s moon Titan, which is powered using energy harvested on Earth by giant ocean-borne power stations that generate fusion power from seawater. Jack heads to the surface each day on his space ship (that looks a lot like a futuristic hybrid of a helicopter) in the air & a bike on land and tracks the drones for repair with the help of Vic who sits at the controls and views him through remote camera. He must also look out for Scavs,For some reason, Jack also has a secret retreat in a forested area on the surface he sometimes visits. He also is plagued by visions of a mysterious women, who is from a time before he was born and before the war (circa 2017).

On one such mission, Jack tracks a crashing NASA shuttle pod that was launched before the war. Although the others are killed by the drones, Jack is able to save one woman – the same as the one in his visions & dreams and he brings her to his base. On waking up he finds her name is Julia and she won’t say much but they are able to salvage the mission recorder. Vic seems openly hostile to Julia for no apparent reason. The next day on the surface, Jack & Julia are captured by Scavs who are revealed to be humans living in an underground stronghold. Their leader Malcolm Beech tells Jack that the alien invasion was a lie and demands that Jack reprogram a captured drone to destroy the Tet by delivering an extremely powerful nuclear weapon. When Jack refuses, Malcolm releases the captives but urges them to seek the truth in the so-called “radiation zone” that Jack is forbidden to enter. As they leave, Jack takes Julia to the ruins of the Empire state building, the same place he has the visions of her and she reveals that she is his wife and that he had proposed to her in that location. As Jack and Julia share a kiss, Vic watches via her video link to Jack’s ship and, when they return to the Tower, refuses them entry. When she informs Sally that she and Jack are no longer an “effective team,” Sally activates a drone that kills Vic. Before the drone can kill Jack, Julia uses the weapons on Jack’s ship to destroy the drone. Sally requests that Jack return to the Tet and bring Julia, but they flee in his ship instead, pursued by more drones.

They crash in the radiation zone, where Jack comes face to face with Tech 52, a clone of himself. He fights the clone, who begins experiencing memory flashbacks before Jack renders him unconscious. Jack then finds Julia has been seriously wounded by Tech 52. Jack impersonates Tech 52 and goes to Tower 52, where he encounters a clone of Victoria, and steals a med kit to help Julia. Shocked the two return to Beech and Jack agrees to reprogram the captured drone to destroy the Tet. As they are about to leave, three drones enter the complex and shoot at the humans and wreak havoc inside, destroying the reprogrammed drone in the process. The humans finally manage to destroy the three drones, but are forced to find another way to deliver the nuclear bomb to the Tet. Jack proposes delivering the bomb himself. To throw off suspicion, Julia suggests that she accompany Jack, since Sally had requested that he bring her to the Tet. It is during Jack’s flight to the Tet that he listens to the mission recorder from Julia’s ship and gets to know what happened. Sally was their supervisor at NASA mission control, with other personnel, including Julia, on board in cryogenic capsules. Upon approach, the Tet drew them in with a tractor beam. Recognizing that capture was imminent, Jack was able to jettison the passengers, who orbited for sixty years in suspended animation until Beech sent the signal to recall their craft.

Jack enters the Tet and meets the “Sally” persona of the alien intelligence. Jack opens the sleep capsule to reveal Beech; Julia simultaneously emerges from another sleeping capsule in Jack’s secret forest retreat. The two men trigger the nuclear bomb and destroy the Tet at the cost of their own lives. The destruction of the Tet also deactivates the remaining drones around the world. Three years later Julia, who became pregnant during a night she spent with Jack at the retreat, is raising her daughter in the retreat which is surrounded by lush vegetation and fruit bearing trees as the earth recovers. A group of surviving humans, the Scavs, arrive at the retreat and Jack Tech 52 emerges from the group. A voice-over by Tech 52 reveals that his previous encounter had re-awakened memories of Julia, and he had searched for her since the Tet’s destruction. Having the same latent memories as Tech 49, he then reunites with “his” family.

Stunning visuals, special effects and gizmos. Story line – not so much. I can see why it didn’t do so well at the box office. It doesn’t really offer us anything new. I’m giving it a 7 outta 10!

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