OBLIVION takes place in 2077. Sixty years earlier Earth was attacked by aliens called Scavengers. During the invasion things got ugly just like in any war. The Moon was destroyed and in a last ditch effort to win, Earth launched all it's nuclear weapons to defeat the Scavs (Scavengers for short). After the war Earth became unable to support life. The human race now lives either on Titan (one of Saturn's moons) or the giant space station called the Tet, which orbits Earth's atmosphere.
Tom Cruise plays Technician #49 Jack Harper. Jack and communications officer Victoria are part of an operation to extract the planet's remaining resources, primarily water for the people now living on Titan. The space station Tet is basically mission control for Jack and Victoria.
What remain of the alien Scavs are basically resistance fighters. In the event of Jack and Victoria ever getting captured by the Scavs they have underwent a memory wipe five years prior in case of capture and interrogation. Jack's primary job is the maintenance and support of 'drones' which patrol the landscape to destroy any remaining Scavs and protect the resource retraction machines. In the final weeks of their operation Jack has begun having dreams and flashbacks of New York City before the invasion. In his dreams he keeps seeing a woman that is not his teammate and part-time lover.
Days before Jack and Victoria are to return to the Tet, a spacecraft crashes on the surface. Jack investigates to find a number of sleeping capsules. One of the capsules contains Julia, the woman from his flashbacks. Soon after, Jack and Julia are captured by Scavs who are revealed to be humans living underground. Their leader, Malcolm Beech (played by Morgan Freeman), claims there are no aliens on the planet and insists that Jack sees things their way and demands that he reprograms a captured drone to destroy the Tet.
Jack refuses and Malcolm lets him go but not without telling him to venture out beyond the so called radiation zones, it is there that Jack will have all the answers he needs.
The story of OBLIVION provides nothing new, we've seen and heard these stories before. From the trailers you can piece together that Morgan Freeman's character is really the good guy and Tom Cruise's Jack has been helping the true bad guys all along. The good news is that OBLIVION isn't I AM LEGEND 2.
I love science fiction but by no means do I consider myself a science fiction geek. I love the classics like THE MATRIX, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, PLANET OF THE APES, and THE TERMINATOR. But when I sit down and watch something like STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION I don't understand half the scientific jargon they are talking about nor do I care. Moviegoers like myself and geeks of sci-fi will quickly discover the 'twist' inside OBLIVION but director Joseph Kosinski makes the film shine through the cliches. The world he has created here is absolutely stunning.
I always come from the school of thought that it's not how original your movie is, but rather it's how you tell your story. OBLIVION borrows from many many other science fiction stories and films, but the film is pure genre and revels in pure 70's science fiction film homage; therefore, I give it a full pardon of not being original.
I highly recommend OBLIVION!
Spoilers! Well, sort of.
The ending of the movie had me seriously thinking, did Tom Cruise just denounce Scientology?