Yesterday I went to see “Oblivion”, the last Tom Cruise movie [imdb], this is what I though about it.
“Oblivion”, the last movie featuring Tom Cruise, directed by Joseph Kosinski who also directed “Tron Legacy” in 2012 (not a good reference if you ask me), is a SciFi movie about a team of two humans technicians on a planet Earth that was ravaged by war after an alien invasion. “We won the war but we lost the planet” as they say.
The rest of humanity has emigrated on Jupiter’s moon, Titan, and Jack and Victoria are assigned to the maintenance of drones protecting energy rigs that convert sea water into energy cells. Rigs and drones are regularly attacked by the “scavs”, remnants of the alien army that invaded Earth. Jack is going to discover that there is more to that than what he has been told…
SPOILER ALERT!! Now you have been warned, if you haven’t seen that movie yet and read ahead you might learn more than you wish about the plot.
Frankly, despite I had guessed most of the plot with the trailer, I enjoyed the movie. The atmosphere is great, the images are fantastic and the soundtrack is gorgeous. It was a nice entertainment and I recommend it. The problem is that I am a hardcore SciFi fan and there are a number of “duh!?” moments in this movie. And while some of them hold the plot (which is bad), most of them are just there for unnecessary dramatisation (which is even more bad).
The Tet and the tech
The Tet is the orbital space station which is allegedly the control center for the operations on Earth. Jack will discover that it is not human, but it is actually the alien ship that invaded Earth and is home to an Artificial Intelligence whose goal is to go from planet to planet to suck up all energy.
- The rigs: the rigs are huge “factories” which pump sea water and manufacture energy cells. Since the goal of the Tet is to get as much as energy as possible you would think that those rigs are energy-efficient? Well, then, you are wrong. Instead of floating on the water or anchoring on the sea bed, they float in the air, hovering above the sea. Given the size of those things it must take a lot of energy to just do that. But they also don’t use tubbing to pump the water into the rig, they somehow levitate it…
- Communications: When the Tet is beyond the horizon all communications are lost. And when Jack goes into a canyon, communication is lost with Victoria too. Like this is an advanced alien AI but it doesn’t have any knowledge about satellite communication relay? Remarkably too, visual communication with the Tet is quite bad, it looks like they are using 1950’s analog television broadcast (in B&W) for their visual and audio but all the rest is digital and is perfectly working.
- The chopper: Jack has a very nice chopper to wander around, but one has to ask how come such a nice piece of tech cannot withstand being struck by lightning whereas your common airplane does. It’s also a miracle that it can glide despite it doesn’t have wings. Well, not always, when struck by lightning it falls like a stone, when shot at, it glides.
- The drones: Again, nice piece of tech. Automated drones, programmed to patrol and kill everything that moves. Heavily armed and armored, except for that little spot that if a skilled sniper can shoot will totally shut down the thing. Heartless killing machines that will blow away Victoria without thinking about it but will take it’s time to hover closer to Jack for the final blow, conveniently placing itself in the chopper’s line of fire so that Julia can kill it. They also cannot withstand a struck of lightning but unlike the chopper, which needed Jack to work hard to have it restart, they restart by themselves.
An effective team
So Jack and Victoria are a team, Jack is the technician and Victoria the communication officer. They are also a couple and allegedly the sole humans on the planet. We discover later that they are clones whose memories have been erased and that there are may be hundreds of them around the planet.
- Memories: If those are clones, why erase their memories? Clones do not have memories of the original subject’s life nor can dream about it.
- Invasion army: At one point, Morgan Freeman’s character explains that the Tet used an army of Jack’s clones to invade the planet. Those clones where hardly conscious of being humans and invading their own planet, which implies that the Tet has the necessary tech to brainwash/program them enough, so why let the other clones think they are humans and work for what’s left of humanity?
- Reproduction: Jack and Victoria are a couple and they have sexual relations. You can assume that all the couples of clones around the planet do the same. Let’s say it relieves the tensions. In such circumstances (and since they are engineered clones) you would think that the Tet made sure they cannot reproduce, and they don’t. However, Jack will sleep one time with Julia and BINGO!
- Working hours: One of the problem the team faces is that the scavs attack the rigs and drones at night, when they are
fuckingsleeping. Damn, they must have a powerful union to forbid night shifts. Especially since there is an almost infinite supply of Jacks and Victorias. Why don’t they work in three eight-hour shifts?
Julia and the Odyssey
So Julia is Jack’s wife (well, Original Jack’s) she was on the Odyssey with Original Jack and Original Victoria. The Odyssey’s mission was to investigate the object approaching Earth which happens to be the Tet. The crew was composed of an undefined number of members in hypersleep (6 at least) plus Jack and Victoria who where piloting the ship.
- Hypersleep: Why members of the crew are in hypersleep whereas it seems that the Odyssey and the Tet are really close to Earth. To need hypersleep you would imagine that they had to make a very long journey before meeting with the Tet. In that case there would be a lag in communications with ground control, which is not the case. And if the goal of the mission is to investigate the Tet, and the crew is here to do that, then why are they still in hypersleep so close to the subject of their investigation? And why so many crew members in the first place? I mean, you have to send people investigating an alien object, are you going to send as many people as possible or as few as required? You know, just to limit casualties in case those are flesh-eating aliens. Especially if most of them are going to just sleep. Or may be it was an offering, like “you can eat those but please don’t ransack the planet”.
- Julia is stupid: Julia has been in hypersleep for 60 years, doesn’t know anything about the invasion, she wakes up, see her husband Jack with another woman and doesn’t say or do anything. And she won’t explain what was her mission, arguing it’s a secret, despite the fact that Jack and Victoria where also part of the mission.
- Julia is really fertile: She just had sex once after being in hypersleep for 60 years, got shot in the belly, but still get pregnant from her husband’s clone (who should be infertile).
- Julia is a Slut: She knows none of the Jacks are the original, the Original Jack likely died a few minutes after entering the Tet with the Odyssey, but she will gladly take any of the Jacks (at least 51) remaining on Earth after the Tet exploded, as her husband/lover. 2077, polyandry is “à la mode” at last…
- Flight recorder: Just a small one but still. How come the Odyssey’s flight recorder was in the sleep compartment and how come it continued recording what was said in the command module after separation? Doesn’t the command module have it’s own flight recorder?
- Odyssey’s crash site: Seriously? What’s that crater?
What’s actually left of humanity, led by Morgan Freeman. They are stealing energy cells from the drones to make bombs to destroy the rigs and stop the ransacking of the planet. They pass for scavs at the eyes of Jack mostly because of the way they dress.
- Attire: Arguably, they dress like that, explains Freeman, to look as less human as possible because the drones are programmed to kill everything human (except Jack and Victoria). If this was true then why Jack is so worried about the dog being killed by the drone? And why the drone is so effective at saving Jack when they trap him in the library?
- The Odyssey: How do they know about the Odyssey? Julia said it was a secret thing so how come those guys know about it? May be Morgan Freeman was POTUS (again) so he knew about it, that would explain a lot. Except everyone knows Morgan Freeman would rather die with the rest of humanity than hide in a bunker, or an ark.
What about you? Did you see the movie? What did you think about it?