After I saw The Host and balked at the laughable invaders, I thought a lot about aliens that are actually threatening. Aliens are something that have been talked about for a long time, whether they’re on Earth already or on a distant world waiting to visit us. About seventy percent of the time, these creatures are portrayed as non-friendly and either want to eliminate us or conquer us. I have envisioned possible aliens as very animalistic and only know how to survive. This is often the intention of most invaders in media, except that their technology is far more advanced then we could imagine. That is the question I’ve always wondered; why would an advanced species of aliens want to destroy us rather then study us?
Usually the answer I would get is out of prejudice, greed, or power. A lot of these answers seem too human-like for what I imagine are naturalistic aliens. Before society, we have all started out as animals before we developed ideas to evolve. If they were civilized, then I would think they would want our energy more then us. That is what the aliens in Oblivion are after in a post Earth apocalypse thriller.
The year is 2077. A long time ago, the Earth’s moon was destroyed by creature’s knows as Scavengers. This caused a tectonic eruption of earthquakes and tidal waves that ravaged the land as the aliens made their invasion. A last ditch effort to use nuclear missiles won the war, but the humans lost their planet, as the world was then unlivable. It was said that the rest of the human race had been evacuated to a massive space station called the Tet (which looks like an upside down pyramid) and Saturn’s moon of Titan. The only thing human left on earth is Jack.
Jack Harper (played by Tom Cruise) along with his communications officer and lover Victoria (played by Andrea Riseborough) are left to monitor the Earth’s mining equipment to extract the remaining source of power for Titan, salt water from the sea. Jack’s job is to repair the planet’s drones that shoot down whatever remaining aliens are left. He is having dreams about a past life that seem too far in the past to have happened. He may be dreaming of a New York City from the early 2000’s, but he is stuck to make his dream world within a dead world. It is one day that a space capsule crashes, attracted to a signal from a recently operating beacon on the Empire State building. When the lone survivor Julia (played by Olga Kurylenko) claims to be Jack’s wife, he starts to question his mission.
As you can see from this essay, Oblivion builds a lot of set up for a stylistic take on a dead earth. I ‘ll admit that I’ve seen plenty of movies about an Earth that is not habitable, but not like this. The design of the tower where Jack works, along with the spacecrafts and weapons, look really cool. It’s like if Ferrari came in and designed everything in the future. Having that said, does the movie find a new way to tell a story about invaders?
The best ay to describe this is if WALL-E and 2001: A Space Odyssey came together. It’s an environmental movie that is really trying to be very art-like with it’s story. It takes a lot of turns that borrows from a lot of other sci-fi stories. Without giving it away, the end result steers into such a crazy direction, you’d be wondering if you were watching a different movie. Oblivion looks really good and starts to build on some great aliens, but the payoff is not quite there.
I’ll give this three drones out of five. If the movie had found it’s focus, then director Joseph Kosinki (who also directed Tron: Legacy) could have been a new kind of post-apocalyptic thriller. At least he has found his voice as an artist with the stylish, slick look that’s missing from much science fiction. I’m curious to see if he’ll learn his mistake and make a better movie later.