It is actually quite difficult to try to explain the plot in any great detail without revealing spoilers that would ruin any potential enjoyment of the movie. Suffice to say in 2017, aliens arrive and destroy the moon, which in turn causes the Earth to endure apocalyptic natural disasters. Humanity manage to avail in the impending invasion but at the cost of the inhabitability of Earth (if in doubt, nuke'em). Sixty years later, all the remaining inhabitants of Earth are relocated to Titan, the largest moon orbiting Saturn and the Earth's remaining seawater is siphoned off by as a reserve to create fusion energy for the needs of the people. This history is implied, as the aforementioned events are narrated by the main character, Jack (Tom Cruise), at the beginning. Along with his companion, and communications officer, Vika (Andrea Riseborough), they are the last humans on Earth, assigned to repair the drones that protect the reactors from small bands of remaining alien "Scavs" hiding underground. The pair report to and receive orders from their superiors who are located on a massive space station/mothership called the "Tet" orbiting the planet. For security purposes, they have their long-term memories wiped, so as to have no recollection of who they were before. With two weeks to go before the siphoning process is complete, the pair are waiting to relocate to Titan. A chain of events leads Jack to question the purpose of his mission, especially after he saves a human survivor, the mysterious Julia (Olga Kurylenko), who he seemd connected to...
The first impression is that the scenery and set designs are striking. There are no two ways about it, this movie is beautifully crafted, and the aesthetics will live long in the memory. Such care and design has been been placed in the implementation, it cannot be faulted. From the desolate, isolated surroundings to the clean, clinical designs of the tech. The electronic score and unique sounding sound effects (very similar to Tron: Legacy) also compliments the action and drama to a tee. This could very well be a showcase disc to to impress your friends with on your HDTV and sound system.
Oblivion isn't paced like an average Hollywood summer blockbuster but it is well-conceived sci-fi. It is sophisticated (for a big budget Hollywood movie anyway) and treats the viewer with a modicum of intelligence. Breadcrumbs are carefully laid throughtout for the viewer to piece together the puzzle. Conceptually, it plays like it could be a very expensive 2 hour episode of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. There are other influences for sure, Wall-E and I Am Legend spring to mind. It is not easy to create something without it looking like it has been recycled from films past but this movie has its own identity. The director definitely has his stamp all over this movie. Cruise creates a believable character and handles the action sequences with aplomb. In fact the performances all-round were spot on, although Morgan Freeman is under-used in his role.
Critics have moaned that this is an exercise in style over substance. I don't prescribe to this opinion, as this movie has a soul, and at its heart is a protagonist who is on a journey to discover what it means to be human, along with notions that love and emotions can transcend science and technology. All in all, a solid and effective sci-fi movie.