22 questions about “Oblivion”

Saturday night, I took Melissa to see Oblivion. The trailers looked interesting, I had heard good things about it, and read some decent reviews online from non-mainstream movie critics (Filmdrunk gave it a B+, for instance). So when we got a date night, I suggested we go check it out.

Not a good movie. There were a few scenes that were likable, and the drones in the film that Tom Cruise’s character is on Earth to repair are pretty cool (Tom Cruise has a pretty cool helicopter-like vehicle, too). But overall the movie is not good at all. Rather than explain why, I am just going to repeat the list of questions that I asked myself after it was over in my attempt to figure it out. The more questions I asked, the worse the movie became.

In no particular order…

  • if the aliens have the technology to build enormous universe-traversing spaceships, build and deploy hundreds of enormous factories from that ship that are capable of draining energy from out oceans over the course of decades, and deploy hundreds of nigh-bulletproof drones armed with laser cannons to protect them, why in the hell did they need an army of Tom Cruises (TC) and Emily Riseboroughs (ER)?
  • what happened to the other at-least-50 Tom Cruises and at-least-51 Emily Rossboroughs?
  • when Tom Cruise 49 went to Tom Cruise 52’s house, why didn’t Emily Riseborough 52 notice the big-ass “49” on TC49’s uniform?
  • and why did ER52 not at least ask him what had happened that caused his face to get all beat up?
  • why did the aliens put their clone tanks in their mother ship’s hangar bay?
  • why did the aliens give the TCs a vehicle capable of space flight, when visiting the mother ship would absolutely give away their ruse?
  • why does TC’s helicopter vehicle thing have seating for two since his partner is supposed to absolutely refuse to go to the surface under any circumstances, and he isn’t supposed to encounter anyone on the surface?
  • how did Olga Kurylenko (OK) know that the Tet being examined by the Odyssey was the object in Earth orbit, since she was in hibernation when they found it?
  • how did Morgan Freeman discover the Odyssey was in orbit above Earth? The entire movie depends on Odyssey returning to Earth, but given the tech available to MF’s rebels it is difficult to imagine that they had any means to detect it.
  • and, given that the aliens’ mission involves the extermination of humanity, why would they allow a pod full of humans to remain on orbit around the Earth for six decades?
  • if the aliens have zillions of TC clones, why would they give a crap if the drones occasionally kill one/some of them? The drones’ inability to kill TC was the only thing that allowed OK to live, and yet there was absolutely no reason for the drone to choose TC over the human it was sent to kill. OK was an enemy and TC could be replaced in minutes.
  • how did TC and ER live in their home for however long they lived there and not know there was a secret drone in their basement?
  • why were the secret drones in the basement, which seemingly existed only to exterminate drone repair teams when the need raised, so much bigger and more bad-ass than the drones that were out hunting people?
  • when the aliens found the people they knew were the enemy, why did they attack them with only three drones?
  • and why did they never deploy any of the heavy assassin drones to do anything other than kill one lady who had never been out of her house?
  • the TC and ER clones have had awareness for only around five years or so. They have never had any other human contact. They cannot possibly have any concept of religion. So why would the alien central mind try to appeal to fear of a creator by telling TC “I am your God” before TC destroys the ship? How would TC even know what that means?
  • why in the hell, three years later, was TC52 still wearing his Tet uniform and not the same kind of clothes the other human are wearing?
  • how did the drones not find, and destroy, Tom Cruises’s cabin? Why was an area of vegetation not in a “radiation zone” so TC49 could find it to begin with?
  • why do the clones need think they are on Earth? Why couldn’t the clones just think they are part of an occupying force on an alien world and there for a mission? There really is no reason for the aliens to set the ruse up the way they have. It would’ve been far easier to set up a situation where they wouldn’t have to put so much effort into keeping a secret. Even so, any time a clone discovered the truth it could easily be assassinated and replaced anyway. So, really, the entire central plot point exists only so the aliens can fail.
  • how would Morgan Freeman possibly know that the aliens were traveling the universe, destroying planets and then moving on to the next planet? How would he know anything about the aliens at all since his only contact with them has been via TC clones and killer robots?
  • who shot the cable TC49 was using to escape from the library, and why would they do that? The fall could have killed him, and they just as easily could have captured him on the surface.
  • what was TC49 fighting in the library? They weren’t drones; they couldn’t have possibly been people… So what were they?
  • why do the TCs have numbers, anyway? Wouldn’t it be easier to just let the clones think they are alone on the planet, since if the alien plot is to succeed the clones cannot possibly meet anyway? Why even bother with “sure, there are literally dozens of other people down there doing this. But, no, of course you can never meet them.”

I really could go on all night. The more I work on this list the more I think to add to it

The shootout in the library sure was cool though…

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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