Earth is a memory worth fighting for.Oblivion
is a 2013 Science Fiction
film directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy
) starring Tom Cruise
, Olga Kurylenko
, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
, Melissa Leo and Morgan Freeman
. Anthony Gonzalez of M83
and Joseph Trapanese (The Raid
, TRON: Uprising
) are the composers.
Cruise plays Jack Harper, a repairman who maintains a series of drones on the surface of the Earth in the aftermath of an apparent alien invasion and war which the humans won at the cost of half of Earth being destroyed. When he finds a crashed spaceship, he starts a series of events that forces him to question everything he knows.
It's something of an "old-fashioned" style of Sci-Fi, i.e., an unraveling mystery/elements of conspiracy with visual effects concentrating mostly on a post-apocalyptic wasteland, as opposed to a series of confrontations in flashy scenery.
Watch the trailer here.
Or don't. Remember, Trailers Always Spoil
, and going in blind is critical to the movie's plot.
This film has the following tropes:
- After the End: The primary setting is an Earth after devastated by an interstellar war.
- A God Am I: Tet/Sally: I created you, Jack. I am your God.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
- The drones seem almost as ready to shoot Jack as they are to shoot Scavs. He has to identify himself, sometimes repeatedly, to get them to back off. That's because the drones are actually designed to hunt and kill humans.
- The Tet is actually an evil alien artificial intelligence-spaceship-thing that raids planets for energy to keep itself running.
- Alien Abduction: What happened to the real Jack and Victoria. It was Harper's decision to uncouple the piloting section from the crew section as it was being swallowed by the Tet that prevented the rest of the ''Odyssey'''s crew from becoming clones.
- Alien Invasion: By a race referred to as "Scavengers," or "Scavs" for short. The setting is in the aftermath, about 60 years afterwards. Or so Jack believes. Turns out, the Alien Invasion was actually by the Tet, a gigantic autonomous AI, and the Scavengers are the human resistance.
- Alien Sky: The wreckage of the destroyed Moon.
- Amnesiac Lover: Jack has memories of meeting a woman he doesn't know, in a place that he knows was destroyed before he was born then she shows up alive.
- Apocalyptic Log: The flight recorder playback of the Odyssey.
- Arc Words: The poem that Jack reads in the library is quoted several times and is directly relevant to the plot:
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?
- Artistic License – Medicine: Someone is shot in the abdomen and survives. It's hard not to hit part of the digestive system there and that's usually fatal even with modern medicine, plus in the film it takes a long time (in emergency-medicine time) between the victim getting shot and any medical assistance being applied. Of course, in the end, it turns out all the person has to do is get the bullet out. The medical technology of the time is evidently so amazing that the victim later is more than willing to have sex and get pregnant that night. A Deleted Scene would have helped justify this by showing the medical technology at work, and yes, it is supposed to be that amazing.
- Artistic License – Physics:
- The Moon is still in several large pieces that haven't orbited each other nor fallen back together after 60 years.
- The buildings of Manhattan are buried under an improbable amount of dirt, and probably couldn't take the weight of that much dirt on top of, around and on their sides without being in much worse shape. Tsunamis and earthquakes are mentioned, but they would probably have destroyed the buildings rather than just buried them all. However this all makes for some stunning, beautiful visuals.
- The Tet appears to be in an orbit around Earth that is at most a couple of hundred kilometers high, yet it appears to lose line of sight (and communication) with Tower 49 for around 12 hours each night. Such a low orbit would normally mean that the Tet would orbit Earth within a much shorter time, meaning it might be offline for less than an hour before rising above the horizon again note . The 12-hour orbital period shown in the movie would correspond to a much higher orbit of several tens of thousands of kilometers.
- Put a Cool Bike on its twin stands, pull a winch cable out of the front, rappel down into a building. How does that work? It seems unlikely that the bike would be heavy enough or anchored well enough by the two stands to hold Jack up, especially with the acrobatics he goes through on the end of that line.
- Ascetic Aesthetic: How the Tet and anything related to it (the Towers, the suits, the drones, the firearms) is represented. Borders Everything Is an iPod in the Future in some places (like the Towers' communication consoles).
- Attack Drone: The spherical, heavily armed, tough as hell drones Jack repairs for a living.
- Attack Its Weak Point: The drones have several points (cameras, energy core hatches, etc) which can be shot For Massive Damage. Toyed with in that they are small targets on a highly-mobile weapons system, those who try to shoot it use big guns and try to do so when the drone's standing still (and are virtually point-blank), and it still has a high chance of not working.
- Babies Ever After: The movie's epilogue which shows Julia tending the garden at Jack-49's secret cottage with a three year-old girl which is most definitely his.
- Big Applesauce: The movie happens in a virtually unrecognizable New York State. What remains of the Empire State Building is a plot-important location.
- Big Bad: "Sally", the Tet's A.I.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- The drone coming to Jack's rescue during the Scavs' ambush on the remains of the New York Public Library, and the drones sent to intimidate the Scavengers when they capture Jack and Julia. Although considering The Reveal that follows, they could be considered more of a Villainous Rescue in action.
- When the drone on Tower 49 is reactivated, killing Victoria and getting ready to shoot Jack, Julia saves him by blowing away the drone with the Bubble Ship's guns. The fact that the later Aerial Canyon Chase has the drones getting shot repeatedly with the same guns with little damage making it also an example of Worf Had the Flu, is justified by Harper mentioning earlier that the drone isn't worth much without its armor.
- During the final shootout between the drones and the Scavengers on the bunker, one of the drones is about to shoot Julia and some human civilians. Julia picks up a gun and shoots the drone ineffectively... but is enough of a diversion for Sykes to be able to shoot it In the Back with no problem. Beech also mans a turret and shoots it out with one of the drones, destroying it although he ends up injured because of it.
- Big Dumb Object: The Tet
- Bittersweet Ending: The Earth is finally saved from the Tet after 60 years of a war that humanity pretty much lost, and that which remains of humanity finally will have a chance to rebuild. All that it cost were the lives of the Drone Tech 49 clone of Jack Harper and Malcolm Beech. Julia has a daughter and the 52nd Drone Tech clone of Harper has finally found her after looking for her for three years.
- Broken Record: "Are you an effective team?". One of the first signs that something is pretty wrong.
- Bulletproof Vest: The suit Jack wears for most of the movie is a pretty effective Space Clothes kind of armor. We see how effective it is when Sergeant Sykes shoots him in the chest during the interrogation scene. At the least, it can take 9mm rounds with nothing to show for it but one hell of a scare.
- The Cake Is a Lie: "There is no Titan"
- California Doubling: Set in New York City and New York State. Filmed (for the most part) on location in Iceland. The Alien Invasion and subsequent war has turned the place unrecognizable except for some remaining landmarks.
- Catch Phrase:
- Victoria's "Another day in paradise." It's what the original Victoria said in the Odyssey.
- Sally's "Are you an effective team?"
- Chekhov's Gun/Brick Joke: Lots of them:
- The Logo Joke shows the Tet and the Odyssey, the latter being easy to miss. Repeated reminders about the Tet's blind spot make this especially relevant later in the film.
- Jack's recurring dream about a viewfinder on the Empire State Building. It's where the original Jack Harper proposed marriage to Julia.
- The picture of Jack and Vika in the apartment. It's the picture Victoria took in the Odyssey just before arriving at the Tet.
- The fact that the Scavs La Résistance have been stealing drone fuel cells.
- The fact that lightning strikes force electronics (such as the Bubble Ship's and the drones') to reboot if struck while flying.
- The constant reminding to Mission Control to please send parts and armor to repair the drone on Tower 49, which Sally keeps disregarding. Julia's Big Damn Heroes Crowning Moment of Awesome later on is also a good example of Worf Had the Flu because of it.
- The missing drone mentioned at the beginning. It was captured by La Résistance, but it's intended use to carry a nuke to the Tet ends up sadly subverted.
- The Bubble Ship and the drones using voice recognition to identify Jack. The latter comes in use when Jack first rescues Julia from the crashed Odyssey (since they're programmed to not shoot him). As for the former... as Jack discovers, all that it's necessary to use another clone's ship is to change the Tech operator number you say for ID, which comes in handy because he needs to use it to save Julia's life after she's accidentally shot.
- The Odyssey's flight recorder. And its nuclear reactor core.
- The Scav communications equipment that Jack deactivates on the ruins of the Empire State Building. And the building itself.
- The fact that the drones can track Jack's DNA comes back to bite the ass of the Scavs during the final act.
- When Jack first reports about finding Julia to Mission Control, Sally says there is a great deal of interest up there in bringing her up to the Tet. During the Trojan Prisoner gambit, Jack mentions this back to Sally to be allowed into the ship.
- When Jack first starts checking the wreckage of the crashed Odyssey, he opens a Human Popsicle capsule which is empty, and when the Scavs La Résistance arrive, you can see them taking that capsule. It becomes pretty important later on as it is the capsule Julia goes into thinking that she and Jack will do the Trojan Prisoner gambit and Jack then transports to his cabin, where she will be safe. The capsule is labeled "J. Harper"—it belonged to her (real) husband.
- A minor one: when Jack first disables the communications equipment in the Empire State, he takes a gorilla plushie that was on the room and puts it among his collection of scavenged stuff. Julia's child is seen playing with it in the movie's epilogue.
- When Jack first checks up on the downed Drone 166 in the opening scenes, he affixes the loose fuel cell to the frame with chewing gum because he doesn't have the proper tools with him to do a better job. When Drone 166 comes back online after his fight with Jack 52, he reaches into the open hatch and is able to yank the fuel cell out quickly and easily because it was just chewing gum holding it in.
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- The deactivated drone that is being repaired on Tower 49.
- Sally. Not only do we discover that she's nothing but the "human face" of the Tet, but that the real one (on whom the face is based) was NASA Mission Control for the Odyssey mission.
- Jack Harper. Clone Number 52, to be specific. Shaken from his oblivion after encountering Jack 49 and Julia, he seeks her out after encountering the survivors.
- Drone 166, which Jack goes out to fix in a routine job during the expository opening scenes. It comes back to "save" him from the Scav ambush at the buried NY City Library, it arrives at the Odyssey crash site to dispose of survivors, and then it becomes the lead drone and most persistent foe chasing after Jack when he escapes with Julia.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: The fact that drone fuel cells are pretty devastating when they go off comes to bite both sides of the conflict in the ass a few times.
- Clone Army: The Tet cloned an army of astronaut Jack Harper to conquer earth, then switched to drones and had the Jacks maintain them.