Even with its predictable plot, ridiculous need to stick to
tired clichés, and Tom Cruise, “Oblivion” gives viewers cause to wonder what
makes us human. Its answer is “our memories.”
As clone whose memory was wiped five years ago, Cruise’s
character Jack is bound to a tower where he lives safely and ventures out to
patrol the land, kill Scavs if he has to, and fix drones. However, since Jack
is cloned from the best of humanity, he starts to wonder about his existence
and the dreams he has about a woman he doesn’t know. When he meets her and
meets himself with a different number, he realizes who he is and who he isn’t. She
doesn’t mind. She’s his wife and says that it’s the memories that make a person
who he or she is.
If memories are what make us who we are, humanity might be
in trouble. Smart phones and the Internet are eroding are ability to remember
things. There’s no reason to remember facts when they can be found easily with
a quick search, but when you don’t practice using your memory, you begin to
lose the ability to remember. This is seen in the “photo taking impairment
effect.” Because we take a photo of it, our brain doesn’t have to remember it.
While this hypothesis is still being tested and debated, the question is:
If we are our memories, who are we when we don’t remember
anything, and who will be as a society when we forget our past? What happens to
humanity when the phones have our memories? Perhaps, the movie has told us more
than we realize… “Oblivion.”
For further consideration:
With a plot as predictable as “Oblivion’s,” telling you that
this article contains spoilers is questionable. After all, if you know what’s
going to happen, me telling you isn’t really a spoiler, is it? It seems as
ridiculous as this movie and its ending. Still, there may be spoilers ahead if
you haven’t seen “Oblivion,” yet. I would suggest avoiding it altogether, and
with a domestic gross total of just under $90 million for this 2013 release, it
appears that’s what many people did.
That doesn’t mean that “Oblivion” is without merit. Sure, it
may leave you wondering how Tom Cruise continues to get acting jobs and why
Morgan Freeman decided to get mixed up in this 2-hour sleep pod. The film may
even have the same effect on you as a sleep pod.
Still, it does give you cause to ponder and imagine
thousands of Tom Cruises coming out of a spaceship on a mission to eradicate
humanity from the planet, or at least, destroy enough people to make the planet
harvestable. If the idea of thousands of Tom Cruises as an invading army doesn’t
give you nightmares, I’m not sure what will.
The stunning visuals and effects were wasted on Cruise and
his lack of acting ability. There wasn’t even a good running scene – he does
run, but the angle that it’s filmed from doesn’t allow you to make too much fun
of it. The movie’s end scene, which was supposed to be touching and beautiful,
had me laughing out loud as “Oblivion” slipped into the absurd one final time.