Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: Oblivion (2013)
  • Awesome Music: The theme-song, "Oblivion", by M83 and Susanne Sundfør. The whole soundtrack definitely fits here.
    • "Star Waves"
    • "I'm Sending You Away"
    • "Fearful Odds"
  • Cliché Storm: A common remark—for good or ill—seems to be that this movie's plot is made up out of other SF movies in general, without carving out enough of it's own identity.
    • A notorious sci-fi cliche was aliens coming to Earth to steal our water. Though at least the alien is turning it into energy instead.
    • An Ambiguously Evil overseer whom sci-fi loving audiences quickly deduced was malevolent and probably an evil AI.
  • Freud Was Right: In the words of reviewer Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.
    "Cruise's sperm-ship enters through an airlock that resembles a geometrized vulva. He arrives inside a massive chamber lined with egg-like glass bubbles. At the center of the chamber is a pulsating, sentient triangle that is also supposed to be some kind of mother figure. Cruise must destroy the mother triangle and her space uterus in order to save the Earth."
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • So why Tet became so interested in Julia and insisted Jack bring her to the station? It's likely that Tet realized long ago that Jack and Vika are NOT an effective team; she cloned them because they were the only ones she had access to(It's unclear if Vika's clones participated in invading the Earth, but Jack being a trained soldier and a public hero would have more shock value in a Psychological Warfare against mankind, and Vika obviously has no combat abilities and is more useful as Mission Control), and she probably realized that while they could work together, Vika was not so good at keeping Jack on track, and in fact her behavior made him more unpredictable(As hinted by Jack meeting one of Vika's clones, each pair of clones has the same relationship problems: Vika being too professional, by-the-books and controlling, making Jack feel uncomfortable and restless (It's likely Tet had problems with other clones going out of control in the past because of that; the "are you an effective team?" question is likely a repeat test of Tet to evaluate whether each clone par is still under control or not, which implies there were problems with the clone teams before to warrant such a protocol). Julia, however, is his wife, he had dreams with her and quickly and willingly goes out of his way to help her. If she managed to get her, she could clone her instead of Vika, and thus make the perfect team to continue controlling Earth, since Julia would make Jack feel more at home, less likely to question orders(Vika's tactic of keeping Jack working all day and then distract him with sex at night, only better Jack won't feel like a Henpecked Husband to a Control Freak woman). Jack even uses this excuse to convince Tet that he's surrendering: "We're more effective team". I don't know why she just didn't try cloning another human woman before, but it's likely because Jack's clones would always keep dreaming about Julia, and other women might have the same problem; Vika already had an infatuation, thus easier to make her Jack's wife who didn't question her reality, and Julia is already his wife and he's completely in love with her, thus the clones would be a perfect match.
    • Jack is shown to be a pretty competent, intuitive and instinctual pilot, especially for a repairman. One of his first establishing moments is that "backflip dive" maneuver he does with the Bubble Ship off the tower. Why would a repairman gain such skill to have no problem taking risks just flitting back and forth? He's a NASA commander. He was an elite pilot all along.
  • Fridge Horror: The alien threat hasn't actually been dealt with. The 'Tet' was part of an energy-collection mission (backed up by the fact we see no aliens - everything is remotely automated). What are the aliens going to do when they realise their power plant has been blown up?
    • What happens to all the other Jacks and Victorias, who still believe the lie and have no idea what's happening now that the Tet's been destroyed?
      • If they did find out the truth, as well as about the other clones, how did those Jack take the fact that another version of themselves has settled down with Julia? Conversely, if the other Victoria's also entered into a relationship with Jack, how do they react to the news and being spurned?
    • How much of a chance does humanity really have? That was one ship, without much for defenses, capable of cloning an army. And it's been looting the planet with relative impunity for fifty years. Humanity threw everything it had at the damn thing and it shrugged until they managed a surprise attack. The planet is a wasteland. Nuclear fallout, chemical waste, environmental toxins, most of the planet's water gone. The best case scenario, they'll end up like Arrakis or Tatooine's Sand People. The worst case? The survivors will muddle through three or four generations being picked off by hostile wildlife, starvation, and disease before being finished off by toxic waste. Humanity will never reach high civilization again because the planet itself won't have the resources capable of doing so.
      • Also, the remains of the Moon are still in orbit and will provide a constant source of large-scale impact events. Their sheer number means that one of them eventually WILL cause a massive extinction of whatever life still lingers. Consider that the extinction causes by TET already rivals the Permian-Triassic one and not just Humanity, but all remaining multi-cellar organisms are living on borrowed time.
      • It's possible Vika's reached that conclusion and her Stepford Smiler behavior is due to being cloned a few too many times after she's already crossed Despair Event Horizon.
      • There may be no real nuclear fall-out or toxic waste. The radiation zones are fake, and Beech makes no mention of humans having used nukes during the war. The craters seen may have been left by pieces of the moon The ecological disaster seems to have been caused by the moon being fractured more than anything else.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The drones', well, electronic droning, consisting of dissonant warbles which almost sound like an attempt to form words. In practice, they resemble someone hitting a digital keyboard at random notes; in effect, it's an extremely unsettling "voice."
  • Name's the Same: "Jack Harper" is also the name of a pair of villainous characters: a Manipulative Bastard on Tru Calling, and, the real name of The Illusive Man (a smart former soldier being unwittingly controlled by ancient machine gods).
  • Narm:
    • The look on Jack's face as he's falling after the Scavs cut his line is... rather hilarious.
    • The sound that the drones make as they fly sounds like a monotonous Overly-Long Scream.
  • Rated PG-13 For Money: Averted. The story regarding the rights of the movie are as follows: Disney was the first production company to obtain them, but when they saw no viable to way to reduce the projected final product below a potential PG-13 rating they decided to auction the rights, which were then obtained by Universal and subsequently green-lighted.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Sykes is the Kingslayer!
  • So Okay, It's Average: Critically, a consistent high point has been the art direction and the soundtrack, with some minor discussion about the acting quality. The plot is routinely criticized.
  • Uncanny Valley: Something is strangely.... off about the representative that Sally talks to at the beginning of the movie.
    • Victoria is full of this. Whether she's aware of Tet's true nature and plan or not, her personality and behavior are almost mechanic and deeply unsettling. The way she looks at the plant Jack was grooming, picked it up and threw it off the rail with a emotionless face and cold demeanor is disturbing. And The Reveal just makes it worse, especially when you realize there are probably thousands of clones of her out there, all of them a Stepford Smiler Control Freak who are willing to rat out their supposed husbands to an evil AI at the slighest hint of being scorned. And since Tet is destroyed at the end of the movie, who knows how many of them won't just flip out and try killing their Jacks, nevermind the people who tells them the truth?! Nevermind the possibility that all of them know about Tet, consciously or unconsciously, but prefer to obey her just so they can stay with a married man who doesn't really love them, essentially selling out mankind and ignoring reality over a unreturned love?!?!
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Pretty much every critic, whether they loved or hated the film, praised it's visuals.
    • Those scenes on the Sky Tower? Yeah, those are real clouds and real sunsets and real night skies. They were filmed on top of a volcano in Maui and projected on a silver screen around the set. Take a look. Why does the lightning in the tower look so beautiful and ridiculously accurate? It's being provided by the real thing.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Somewhere out there, there might be a really upset Victoria-52.
  • The Woobie: Victoria comes over as this, especially when Jack realises Julia is actually his wife. It is implied that she also retained some of her original self's memories and knew who Julia was, but lied to Jack because she had a crush on him. She also seems to have genuinely believed the Tet's lie about their mission, right up until she realises the Drone was aiming it's weapons at her.
    • Victoria even more so considering that this potentially means there are dozens of versions of her in a relationship with Jack, who all while was pining for another woman! Which is incredibly damn depressing, when you stop and think about it?!
    • Julia awakens from her Delta capsule to discover the Earth gone to hell, the rest of the crew (to not mention most of the human race) dead, and these facts given to her by alien-created clones of her husband and another crewmember. It's no wonder she can only afford to cry a Single Tear before going Laughing Mad and then fainting from the shock.
      • Look at Julia's face when Jack is telling her what's going to happen while they're standing at the tower window. He says they'll get in contact with Mission and they'll send someone to take her up to the Tet. She hesitantly replies "The Tet?" and her eyes widen. It's right then and there she realizes just how screwed up the situation is, even if the audience doesn't yet. Before then she knew something was wrong with her husband and the co-pilot of her mission, but not the whole truth. She immediately wants to get the flight recorder, knowing Jack needs to hear it. It's a subtle Re Watch Bonus in a film full of them.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy