Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Kosinski|
by Joseph Kosinski
|Edited by||Richard Francis-Bruce|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||124 minutes|
Oblivion is a 2013 post-apocalyptic science fiction film based on Joseph Kosinski‘s unpublished graphic novel of the same name. The film was co-written, produced and directed by Kosinski. It stars Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman,Andrea Riseborough, and Olga Kurylenko. The film was released in the U.S. on April 19, 2013. According to Kosinski, Oblivion pays homage to science fiction films of the 1970s.
The film received mixed reviews. The acting, visual effects, and originality were praised, while reception of the story was mixed. The film underperformed at the American box office, grossing only $89 million, but performed well overseas. It is Cruise’s twentieth film to gross more than $200 million worldwide.
In 2077, Earth has been ravaged from war sixty years prior with an extraterrestrial attacker. The Moon was destroyed, causing earthquakes and tsunamis, while humans allegedly used nuclear weapons for a costly victory. Humanity is now said to be relocating to Saturn’s moon Titan via the “Tet”, a large tetrahedron-shaped space station. On Earth, Tech 49 Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his partner and lover Victoria “Vika” Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) are among the few humans left on Earth. Stationed at Tower 49 in former northeastern United States, they are instructed by mission controller Sally (Melissa Leo) to protect the gigantic offshore fusion energy generators that purportedly provide power to the colonists on Titan, from Scav attacks using a combination of Drones and Jack’s reconnaissance via his ship. Despite having had a memory wipe, Jack experiences visions of being on the observation deck of the Empire State Buildingbefore the war with an unknown woman. When not on patrol, Jack secretly spends time at a small lake-side house he has built.
Jack detects a Scav beacon signal emitted from the Empire State Building that is sending coordinates on Earth. Perplexed, he terminates the signal, only to witness a pre-invasion spacecraft, the Odyssey, fall to the earlier specified coordinates. Investigating the wreckage, Jack finds several working stasis chambers, including one containing Julia (Olga Kurylenko), the woman from his visions, as well as a flight recorder. Jack revives Julia and is surprised that she knows his name. The Scavs capture them, secure the recorder, and take them to their base at Raven Rock Mountain Complex. The Scavs are not aliens but human survivors, led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman). Beech wants Jack’s help to destroy the Tet by using unstable fuel cells they have collected and a captured drone. He says everything that Jack knows is a lie, but Jack disbelieves him; Beech releases them, saying the truth can be found in one of the forbidden radiation zones.
En route back to Tower 49, Jack and Julia go to the Empire State Building, where Jack proposed to Julia. They fly to the Tower, but Vika, monitoring their movements, refuses entry and reports to Sally that she and Jack are now an ineffective team. Sally activates a disabled drone that kills Vika, while Jack and Julia escape, chased by other drones Sally sends to capture Julia. Jack’s ship is damaged and crashes in the forbidden zone that lacks the forewarned radioactivity. They encounter Tech 52 Jack, an exact clone of Jack, and during a scuffle Julia is wounded. Seeing Julia, Tech 52 Jack falters and experiences the same visions Tech 49 Jack experienced. After incapacitating Jack 52, Tech 49 Jack races to Tower 52, finding a Vika clone there. He obtains medical supplies to heal Julia and leaves.
After an evening at the lake-house, the two return to the Scavs. Beech reveals that the Tet is the hostile alien force mining the Earth’s resources while eliminating humanity. The Scavs are not extraterrestrials that are still fighting humans, as Jack was told. After the Tet destroyed the Moon, it sent an army of Jack clones to invade Earth, and nukes were launched in the mayhem. He says Jack and Vika clones are primarily tasked with maintaining the drones that monitor and protect the generators from human survivors.
Oblivion seemed to have gotten lost in the mix between Ender’s Game, Prometheus, and all the new fantasy flicks out there. I thought it was worth 3.5 stars. It was a well acted, well plotted, movie with great effects, that I recommend to all fans of the genre. – M.R.