This is not the Elder Scrolls you are looking for.
Did you ever wonder what the bastard child of Independence Day, Wall-E, Planet of the Apes, The Day After Tomorrow, The Matrix, Return of the Jedi, I Am Legend, Demolition Man, and Moon would look like?
Somebody in Hollywood did cause they wrote it up, showed it to Tom Cruise who laughed his crazy scary “let’s do it” laugh, they made it, and I watched it. Here’s my review of Oblivion starring Tom Cruise and directed by Joseph Kosinski.
Before we begin, I am giving a massive spoiler warning because I do not give a shit. If you really want to see it, go and see it and come back and see if you agree with me. If not, continue on but ye be warned, SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why did I go see this movie tonight? Well, my friend and cohort Mr. Halbert asked if I wanted to see it. I said sure. I had not seen a trailer (or so I thought) and only knew it had something to do with Tom Cruise in a bubble after the end of the world. Why the hell not go see that?
Then the movie started with a voice over about how the world ended. Yep. Might as well have just put the words up on the screen and get it the hell over with, Exposition Fairy. Why have this? Why not show the world has ended and surprise the audience by trusting we are smart enough to get that the world has ended when people are living in it like the goddamn Jetsons and fixing Wall-E and shit?
Deep breaths. This is five minutes in. Holy shit there’s only two more hours to go...
So we meet Jack (Cruise), who explains he is a drone repair man with an erased memory. Sixty or so years ago aliens called Scavs showed up on Earth and blew up the moon which I have got to say is something I have not seen before. Also, points for being a seriously effective way to wipe us out. No moon leads to earthquakes and tide changes and weather fluctuations and pretty much turns the Earth against us.
Jack tells us that the aliens were beaten back and humanity fled the dying planet to a big space station called “Tet.” Jack and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are on the planet to supervise and repair the drones which protect the water vacuum things that are sucking up water to use as power in space. The drones protect the water from the Scavs that still live on the planets surface.
He tells us all of this. Also, he’s having weird black and white dreams of a lady on top of the Empire State Building. And he talks to a bobblehead doll named “Bob” as he goes out to fix a couple of drones that are down. Victoria stays behind to monitor the situation and talk to Sally, the mission control lady with a horrid Texas drawl back on the Tet.
Did I mention Victoria is British and Jack is... American accent guy? Confused yet? Hold on, we still got Morgan Freeman and a french chick coming.
I will put in right now that the visuals in this movie are stunning. Just gorgeous with one or two exceptions. While there are some major problems with the science, the “after humans” type feel is there and is very well designed. I found most of what I was seeing plausible if not a little silly.
Now that I have said something nice, why the hell did it have to be New York? I know, I know, visible landmarks so the audience cares. But holy crap I am tired of seeing New York at the end of the world. Sure, I have never seen the Empire State Building buried to the top in silt, but who cares? Show me somebody tripping over the top of the St. Louis Arch or being impaled on the Space Needle or something. I am bored with New York getting destroyed and horrified by it being attacked in real life.
Anyway, so jack is out on a repair job fixing two drones. He fixes the first with some gum and proves to the audience he can fix things with gum, a skill that he never really revisits. Does anyone else think Tom Cruise is chewing gum all the time? As soon as he fixed this one drone, I started to look at his jaw and that thing never stops moving.
While he is fixing it, Victoria is talking to mission control about how they need parts to fix drones. Sally just kinda waves her off. These drones, which look like flying ping pong balls with cannons, are killing aliens to protect the water sucking machines that will keep humanity alive and you don’t have any spare parts to give... Oh fuck Sally’s an alien and the Scavs are really the last people surviving underground. Yep, ten minutes in and I think I have solved this movie. Oh, how little did I know.
Jack goes to track down the other broke ass drone and his hover ship is inadequate for some reason so he pulls out his space dirt bike and goes for a ride. Yep. I don’t fucking know either.
He finds the second drone in a hole in the ground which looks alot like the famous New York Public Library reading room. Cheers to the NYPL. Turns out the drone is just a big ass globe and the Scavs try to trap him! He gets away and a drone shows up and blasts some fools and here we have problem number I lost count.
When the drone shoots the “Scavs,” the bodies explode into a shower of sparks.
No blood. No guts. A sparkler. A human life being expended by Wall-E with a machine gun is boiled down to a drunk sorority girl’s favorite New Year’s party favor. Welcome to the future, Tom Cruise.
The drone saves him and leaves, but his sweet ass futurecycle is stolen so he walks on back home. When he gets there, he gives Victoria a flower he found. She drops it off the side of the Jetsons house they live in and says it is against regulations. No worries with fraternization or running around on the surface. Nope, Jack can run his ass all over Dead York all day and come home to some naked pool olympics, but one plant and this bitch is all “nope, to the plank with ye, flower!” Ladies, if you do not like the flower at least appreciate the effort is all I am saying.
They have a naked pool party until something in the distance goes boom-shaka-laka and not in a good way. Turns out one of the water suckers has been blown to bits and only one man can find out what happened.
Did I mention Jack and Victoria have repeatedly mentioned they are two weeks to retirement? Really? Cause they said it like twenty times before they forgot about it...
Jack goes out and a few more drones are down. Then there’s a mysterious signal! Jack tracks the signal to the Empire State Building where it is being automatically broadcasted into space. After he finds it, Victoria decodes it and says that it is coordinates.
Jack then says, “Oh well” and runs off to a cabin in the woods he has built where he plays basketball, reads books, plays his Pink Floyd records and talks to fish. Scanners for days, awesome tech to build a ship and water sucking things and they could not track one dude building a log cabin in the only oasis in the middle of a wasteland?
Then a thing falls out of the sky on the coordinates the weird signal had been broadcasting. Jack runs to the crash site and finds peoples in boxes! And one of the box people is the French lady from his dream! Then the drones show up and start ganking fools in boxes. Jack gets them to stop and go away, protecting the French lady Julia (Olga Kurylenko). Jack takes Julia back home because she is dying and Victoria looks like she’s about to throw somebody off the side of the house much like she did some plant we liked a lot.
We get another exposition dump by Cruise about the end and Julia laughs in his face like the audience member I am. Yeah, at this point I am just laughing at this movie in its dumb face and found joy in the small moment when the movie became self aware and laughed in its own dumb face, too.
Julia then tells Jack and Victoria she needs to go back to the crash and get the recorder. Julia and Jack leave and Victoria stays behind because they left her and to cover them with Sally. Victoria then proves she is the worst liar ever, taking five minutes to tell Sally anything about what is going on. She then sends a couple drones out to find Jack and Julia but the couple gets kidnapped by Morgan Freeman. Jack and Julia get kidnapped, not the drones. Although they did kidnap a drone... This is getting pointlessly elaborate.
It was at this point that my earlier hypothesis was confirmed and I audibly said, “Oh, this is that movie!” I seem to recall at some point seeing Morgan Freeman in dark sun shades (while underground, which seems silly) in a trailer or picture for some movie. This must be troubling to someone connected to this movie because I could not remember Freeman dressed up as a hobo cosplaying as the Predator from the motion picture Predator. That is some piss poor ad retention right there, son.
So here we get the real story about what went down on Earth. Just what I said. Tet is an alien, the Scavs are humans, and the humans plan to take the drone they have been capturing and blow up the Tet. They just need Jack to program the drone because the drones are programmed to listen to him. Basically, they filled R2D2 to the brim with C4 and they want Luke Cruise to convince the little droid to run into the Death Star suicide bomber style. Honestly, this is an awesome plan as it does not require some sad devotion to some ancient religion from a farm kid with a messiah complex.
Jack also gets a flashback right about now and we discover, gasp, Julia is his wife! Before the world ended he proposed to her on top of the Empire State Building! What a plot twist!
As they are remembering their love for each other, Victoria is watching and because she’s the only other woman in this movie she must act irrationally about love no matter how smart they seemed to make her in the beginning! When they get back, she locks them out of the Jetsons house and calls the alien cops on them. Joke’s on her, though, cause a drone shows up and blows her to sparkly hell.
After Jack uses lightning as his main defensive strategy and out flies a couple of drones Top Gun style, he finally listens to Kenny Loggins and gets his ass out into the “Danger Zone,” an area that is radioactive and dangerous, so says Tet and everyone else who has ever made fun of New Jersey. Morgan Freeman said earlier Jack should go out there to take a look, so you know he was gonna end up there.
They crash land and shoot down another drone and... what is that? Is it a repairman ship? But... That can’t be... TWO JACKS!?
Yep. There are now two Tom Crusies, and they fight each other, allowing me to now point to Mission Impossible as another movie this movie rips off.
The two Jacks fight for a while and at one point a gun goes off facing the camera, but nobody notices except Julia because she got shot. After Cruise chokes himself out, he uses his double’s hovercar to fly to his double’s house to get med supplies for Julia, where he sees Victoria 2 alive and well and dumb as shit because she does not notice he is covered in dirt, has scabbed over cuts, has gunshot wounds on his armor, AND HAS A DIFFERENT NUMBER ON HIS ARMOR. “Hey, Honey, you came home from work early” does not cut it here. She sees this dude every day, watches him dress in the same uniform every damn day, uses the call sign for that number every single damn day. This is not a matter of “well, she can’t notice everything.” This is a matter of “she doesn’t notice a damn thing.” Especially when it is established that the two of them had the same type of coexistence that the original Jack and Victoria had. This is freaking infuriating in a movie full of what the fuck.
Jack goes back to Julia and takes her to the cabin and they bone.
In the morning, J and J go to MF (Morgan “Motherfucker” Freeman) to fix the drone to destroy Tet and he explains the dumbest thing ever.
Seems back in the day, Jack and Julia were astronauts. They were gonna go to Titan, Saturn’s moon, when Tet showed up. They were then sent to Tet. Then Tet blew up the damn moon and ended humanity. The people that survived were then greeted by a spaceship that was full of clones of Jack that were programmed to terminate all the peoples, then Tet started stealing the water and the clones became repairmen for the drones that were then sent to kill humanity.
What damn sense does that make? Why have clones when Tom Cruise can kill just as good? Why lie to the clones to fix the drones at all? Why not just progam the clones? I just... I’m tired.
So the drones show up as they are about to launch the R2C4 robot bomb. The drones just kill, like, everybody. Can I say these drones are the dumbest thing about this movie, and that is saying a lot? I don’t even want to get into why they slam into stuff (no hit detection?), why they fly like airplanes straight ahead when they can obviously hover and rotate in multiple directions, why they are just dumb dumb dumbly used.
Anyway, everybody but J, J, and MF die, so they decide since they can’t program it, they are going to fly that damn explosive up there themselves, just like that last scene in Independence Day. They try to do a dumb trick where they freeze Julia, but nobody buys that and everybody’s like “Of course” when she wakes back up at the Love Shack.
On the way to Tet, Jack listens to the flight recorder that everybody forgot about way back when this movie was just slightly the dumbest thing ever. We learn that the original Jack and Victoria were the pilots of the ship sent to check out Tet and Julia and the rest were asleep in their boxes. When the tractor beam locked on and started pulling them toward Tet, O. G. Jack unhooked the sleeper car and apparently turned on its anti-tractor beam shield because it floated away until MF could send it a signal to crash back on Earth.
Jack then gets to Tet, lies his way past the supreme being’s defenses, and pops MF out like a freckled jack in the box suicide bomber. The alien overlord calmly allows Jack to assemble the bomb while they chit chat and then they blow the whole thing to hell.
Back on Earth, the humans are being hunted by some drones when the drones drop dead. Looking up and seeing the explosion of the Death Star Tet, the humans all begin to sing Yub Nub and dance around.
Cut to a few years later and we see Julia with a Cruise baby jumping around at the Love Shack. Jack starts narrating again and we see the clone he beat the shit out of from before show up with the other survivors. Victoria 2 is not there, presumably having gone crazy or still living like a Jetson wondering why the hell Jack was so odd and then disappeared.
That’s the end, the all, the whole. Did I like it? Man, I just don’t know. As Mr. Halbert said, I wish we had been the only ones in that theatre because we would have been yelling at the screen the entire time. This move is so bad its good and bad again with the dumb leaps in logic, the poor thought out plot and the just bad science. But it was fun in a B movie from the 1980s kind of way. And that is the part of me that was entertained, that little kid who liked watching the Troma movies late at night and loving how horrible they were.
The real crime here is that this should not be this bad. This movie looks awesome and is acted well by the biggest movie star in the world, the best narrator in the world (why didn’t he narrate?), and the love interests that turned poorly written characters into women I believed would act like that, sorta. More attention should have been paid to plot and character and less to throwing in a jumble of the best scenes from far superior movies.
Overall, I cannot recommend this movie at full price. Find it in a small theatre, take a group of friends and have fun mocking the shit out of it. Do not rent it, the effects are not made for a small screen and you will lose the only great part of this film.