I just realized with all the STID, MOS, Pacific Rim talk, I totally forgot to talk about Oblivion...
I thought it was a terrific movie, purposefully a homage to 70s movies about post-apocalypse with the futuristic aesthetics and twist ending. I honestly don't know why the reviews weren't better though they weren't terrible. My first thought is that it simply got lost (as with myself) in the blockbuster summer movie season, because this really was a quiet, thoughtful movie and of interest to sci-fi fans who have been around for a while. I really like these types of movies to break up the monotony.
Joseph Kosinski is quickly becoming a favorite director of mine. I just like how he creates an atmosphere with music, architecture, and scenery. I'm looking forward to Black Hole, a movie remake sure to be better than the original.
What I liked: The production design. While ostensibly retro, the movie still looks like a lot of designs we have for the future now.
The acting: No flaws here, the performances were a strong point, Cruise gives one of his more memorable recent performances, where he starts out used to the status quo and becomes more gradually involved and emotional. It works perfectly with the theme of a clone working within a mold and then has broken out of it.
The themes: I like movies that tell us we are not our memories or our past but we do in the present that's important. People can change, they always do.
Plot: Not sure why everyone seemed down on this, it wasn't thin at all. While I KNEW things were not as they seemed, it never occured to me the aliens were the ones playing the charade, I thought it was an internal Earthly fabrication, or government/corporate plot.
The twist ending for me was not only that Tet was alien, but that these aliens didn't have to do much actual invading and violence, they basically took it over with natural disasters and passive control with clones and drones and a little trickery. While I've seen that story in books, I don't think we've seen anything quite so large scale in a movie. I do recall some covert control in They Live, and Dark City for example, but those were totally different types of movies.
The Singularity: AI: Without hitting us over the head, this movie was ripped out of the headlines despite being set in the future. Firstly the media blurb from Stephen Hawking that aliens might only be scavengers (only existing in space also, not planet-bound), seeking resources only (which I really don't agree with), and also the Singularity, were the aliens might well be machines. In both cases, they are indifferent to us, not malevolent, and that was my sense in Oblivion.
I'm giving it an A, one of the top sci-fi movies of recent years, and one of the purest.
PS It comes out on Bluray Tuesday!!
PPS The movie didn't do too badly..$120 million budget, $286 million gross.