Oblivion

There are some nice visuals in this tale of alien invasion and deceit. Unfortunately, the story makes little if no sense.

Tom Cruise plays a drone repairman, who for some reason is house in a luxurious sky palace with his partner. He’s got a combination VTOL jet/bat cycle to play with, as he zooms over a planet devastated by loss of its moon, occupied by “scavs” (scavengers?) as the rest of the planet’s human population has scarpered to Titan (!!). In another ten days, the massive floating automated vacuum cleaners will have finished sucking up the planet’s oceans (did I mention the story makes no sense?) and he can retire to join the rest of his species on Titan.
Unsurprisingly, he seems reluctant to leave the planet of his birth.

Who is he? How did he get his maintenance job? Who is the strange woman in his dreams? He doesn’t know, because he’s been brain wiped (was he a criminal?) and shows little interest in discovering why the scavs are trying to kill him.

The drones are flexible, highly armed and fast. Strange ordinance for what appear to be just repair drones. And why are daily orders coming from a giant floating pyramid?

Given that Titan is a frozen moon, with its own supply of water, what logic is there in sucking up the earth’s oceans? (Aside from some nice shots of beached and rusting tankers.) If the floating vacuum cleaners are processing the seawater to generate energy, why not locate them on the seabed, or afloat? (not as spectacular visuals). Are these two really the only humans left on the planet?

The whole charade starts to unravel when a spacecraft crashlands in response to a signal beamed aloft by the scavs. The contents, several bodies in cryonic suspension, are almost all destroyed before our hero can salvage one, containing (surprise?) the woman from his dreams.

The rest of the film is taken up with gun battles, destruction and explosions, as our hero discovers what’s actually happening, and reacts accordingly.

We get some nice scenes with Morgan Friedman as we are fed the expository lump. And no, the real story doesn’t make much sense either.
But it is a visually stunning action film. And there’s an evil AI which pays visual homage to HAL (love those red rings around cameras). If you like Tom Cruise, see it on the big screen. I doubt it’ll be worth watching on DVD.
And no, there’s not enough of Morgan to make it worth seeing for him.

Spoiler Alert!

if you like Cruise, you’ll be delighted to learn the floating pyramid contains an alien AI which created at least 52 clones of him, though we only get to see two of them duking it out. If you dislike Cruise, you’ll cheer when one of them dies (heroically, of course).

Apparently the remnant of the human species are lurking on the devastated planet as “scavs”, and Cruise is a clone of the captain of the first contact ship which remains as the floating pyramid, disguised as the HQ of the cleanup crew.

And no, humans haven’t relocated to Titan (our war-torn planet still looks more hospitable than this methane based frozen (93 kelvin) fifth moon of Saturn). The droids are searching out and destroying humans (hence the firepower) — and no, this isn’t a comment about drone warfare in the present day.

What’s amazing is that, a mere sixty years after the moon is destroyed, the planet is in such good shape (what happened to all those nukes? If a fraction of them were detonated, nuclear winer should have wiped out all plant life on the planet, yet we see lush valleys filled with plants.
While I can accept the AI in orbit, the energy required to keep aloft giant vacuum cleaners for sixty years beggars belief.

And to what end? This vast fabrication to study one human (and his clones) for sixty years? Even if the clone formed an army to “pacify” the human population, why the elaborate sham with the drone repairman?
Or is the AI one sick puppy indulging in control fantasies?

Nope, don’t buy it. maybe if the clone were dreaming it all, then escaped — but then how would he ever find the resistance? And why wouldn’t they shoot to kill on sight, given the clone army used to defeat them?

*sigh*
Don’t try and make sense of the plot: just sit back and enjoy the visuals.

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