Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Clones & Drones & Major Steals......."Oblivion"

We saw Oblivion at the weekend. Our visit to the cinema didn't start out too seriously when husband asked the ticket clerk for "two seniors for Oblivion" which set us both giggling until we got into the foyer where a security guard was on duty searching bags. I had to open my handbag (purse in American lingo) for him. First time that's happened in our cinema - wonder if it's fall-out from the Boston affair? Husband's photo-chromatic lenses had darkened in the late afternoon sunshine so he was temporarily blinded in the darkened corridor and we accidentally entered the wrong studio, realised our mistake when the main feature began and beat a hasty retreat in enough time so's we didn't miss the start of Oblivion.

I hadn't seen the trailer or read any reviews, just a very brief synopsis beforehand. The movie turned out to be one of those you feel the need to see again, not because of its stunning beauty or entertainment value, but to fit in all the bits and pieces the audience discovers in the course of the film, and to straighten out multiple plot twists and try to explain away what seem like huge plot-holes - even after giving due deference to usual instructions to suspend disbelief, at least as far as it would comfortably suspend. Oblivion is a good looking movie though - super special effects, decent soundtrack.

I'll not go into the detailed storyline, there are more than enough websites out there doing exactly that, with spoilers and trailing threads of comments. Background in very few words then: the film is set in 2077, around 60 years after an invasion of the planet by aliens, we are told this in narrative at the film's opening, by Jack Harper. Earth is largely destroyed, the Moon was also partly destroyed causing devastating tsunamis and earthquakes, wiping out much, though not all, of humanity. Jack Harper and a female operative have both undergone a "memory wipe" to obliterate bad memories of the horrific invasion and are left on the surface of Earth while other survivors are said to be installed in the huge "Tet", in space, awaiting travel to a new habitat on Titan a Moon of Saturn. Jack's job is to service and repair a fleet of drone weapons programmed to destroy any remaining alien entities. He and his companion are given orders during communications with Director "Sally" based in the huge Tet (tetrahedron) thingie in space. Parts of Earth are still no-go zones due to radiation from the nuclear weapons used in defeating the alien invaders, whose aim was to drain Earth of its resources for their own use elsewhere. Those are the bare bones of the premise.

I came away with the feeling that, in spite of a few puzzling bits and the mish-mash of homages to earlier sci-fi films, there was something deeper and more worthwhile buried within this film. It took me a while, and quite a bit of thought before realising what it was. It's not easy to explain without a spoiling the movie for others. Still...here goes, as vaguely as I can:

Standing far back from the storyline of the movie, ignoring the brush-strokes, as it were, and squinting the mind's eye as though looking at one of those annoying optical mystery illusion images that were popular once upon a time - a pattern emerges. An image of a manipulated human, taking orders without prior critical thought - blind adherence - attacking people seemingly more primitive than himself; keeping a war, long ended, still alive while his "powers that be" go about stripping all remaining resources of his planet. (Ring any bells? Drones roaming the skies of.....you name it?) It was only when Jack Harper realised that his voice of authority, "Sally", was not as benign and worthy of trust as he had always assumed, that he could begin to look beyond the obvious, investigate and start out on a better road leading to real freedom.

In following a few Google leads I inadvertently stumbled on some Alex Jones-led theories about the "Illuminati" being in charge of the Tet thingie and the whole Earth invasion plot. If that's what floats yer boat, it's a rabbit-hole to investigate and a different angle on the movie's premise.

Something I picked up in reading around, and which might help clarify things for others, as it did for me, was that the story is an adaptation of an unpublished graphic novel by the film's director Joseph Kosinski. In that novel it is said that the highly developed alien civilisation, the invaders of Earth had set out many thousands (millions?) of years ago to strip other planets all around the universe of resources, for their own use. That civilisation had now itself become extinct - but its evil robotic elements still circle the universe, still stealing resources and killing off indigenous inhabitants.

With apologies to Joni Mitchell for my post heading - a parody, of course from "Both Sides Now"
Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way.....

No comments: