Where you see the movie makes a difference. It’s great to see sci-fi movies with a bunch of nerds. I saw it at MIT LSC. I thought the preview for Oblivion looked good, despite Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise. Morgan Freeman was in it to boot, so that made it better. Always go to see a movie with God in it.
Do I have to talk about plot? Ugh. The premise was, let’s say, Planet of the Apes meets Star Wars in 2001 on Dune with a little Star Trek original, Running Man and Solaris thrown in for good measure. Okay?
It was epic, very epic and slow, very slow. The first half-hour is Tom Cruise in voice over explaining the set-up over a groovy CGI montage. There was an invasion, the moon got blown-up and that caused earth to fail; earthlings leave. Cruise as Jack Harper and his communications officer Vica played by Andrea Riseborough are left there as part of a two member maintenance crew. They live in a space-age fire tower, kind of Jetson’s, actually, and Our-Boy-Elroy and Jane-His-Wife make sure the machines work and that water is harvested for the off world colony of what remains of the human race on Titan, that moon, in Jupiter’s orbit. Jupiter Two? But that turns out not to be true. Melissa Leo is the chirpy happy mission control who tries to keep Jack on task, but he breaks protocol for love.
We move into a love triangle. The crew of a human spacecraft crash lands, and Jack who turns out to be a clone saves his Real-Wife the Russian cosmonaut Julia, who haunts his dreams, played by Olga Kurylenko. It’s all drama. He’s broken protocol, and Jane-His-Wife knows “it’s always been her,” and MIT is moaning and giggling and the spectacular CGI is waining in it’s ability to retain anyone’s attention.
Enter Morgan Freeman to save the day with a wonderful kitschy performance as the leader of the rebellion. He has steampunk glasses, black feathers and a cigar. Excellent. So now we get the real story: The enemy Jack has been fighting are the last remnants of the human race. Our-Boy-Elroy and Jane-His-Wife are in fact clones. In divvied up sections, they protect the harvest of water for the aliens that killed the planet. The aliens keep the clones separated by mind fucking them into thinking that the rest of the world is radioactive. In a turn of events, Jack meets himself, in another section, fights himself, and we wish one of them had a beard, but instead he has a cut on the bridge of his nose so we know he’s Our-Boy-Elroy. So Real-Wife, Julia, is dying from a wound, and Our-Boy-Elroy masquerades as himself (clone 52 instead of clone 49) to get medicine to fix Real-Wife. Why doesn’t he have the tiny medical device on his ship, that powers up like a hand vac? Chalk that up to plot device.
Once our boy learns the truth, clone 49 sacrifices himself to save the planet, but luckily he has waterfront property in the Hudson Valley, oh yeah, the second flat, he sends Real-Wife’s space pod there. She wakes up pregnant, and lives happily ever after, especially when Jack 52 comes home with the rest of the freedom fighters. Oh, and Morgan Freeman dies fighting the good fight, saving the resistance, just like the General in Matrix, and the other stud in the movie Sykes played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau accepts Our-Boy-Elroy in the end because he’s going to go get himself blown-to-bits to save the planet.
In trying to find the graphic novel that the movie was based on, I found out that there isn’t one. Turns out that Radical Publishing put out an “ashcan” – a teaser comic a few years ago when there were a bunch of companies that were doing comic to movie projects. After all, comics are a built in storyboards. Most of these companies have failed. The “ashcan” premiered at Comicon San Diego and caught the attention of the Tron Uprising guy, Joseph Kosinski. He teamed up with Radical and they pulled together a work up that caught the attention of Tom Cruise who backed it with his production company so the film got made. If it had been a hit, they’d produce the comic, but since it was only a hit outside the US, no comic will be made. The comic was supposed to be released in 2012, and the movie was supposed to release summer of 2013, but instead, the movie released in spring 2013 and the comic, according to the director isn’t getting produced at all. But hold up, Radical says otherwise. They say it’s coming out in 2014 when they release Hercules. Don’t hold your breath. You can get the “ashcan” on eBay if you really want.