New Movie 'Oblivion' - The Most Anti-war Movie To Come About In Years. (Major Spoilers)Submitted by beauxcphus on Wed, 05/01/2013 - 12:03
The writers and director of this movie should be congratulated for disguising their message behind just enough hollywood glitz and special effects to let it's subversive message make it to the silverscreen without being shut down.
Major spoilers - you have been warned - part of the enjoyment of the movie is discovering this stuff - and not in this order. DO NOT READ THIS before you see the movie.
In order to fully analyze what the movie is conveying - you need a full background of the events leading up to the movie.
An unidentified object is discovered in around a moon of Jupiter and a space mission is sent to investigate. Jack (Tom Cruise) and his co-pilot Victoria are astronauts on the team and are navigating the space ship as it approaches the object, with the rest of the team in hypersleep in the sleep pod. As they approach the object, some sort of tractor beam starts to pull the ship towards the object. Jack and Victoria detach from the sleep pod, which is sent heading back towards earth. Jack and Victoria are taken into the unidentified object. The object is shaped like a tetrahedron and it is referred to as the Tet.
Once captured, the male astronaut Jack is cloned into a massive army as the Tet accelerates towards earth. Once the Tet reaches Earth's orbit, it destroys the moon, sending the Earth's climate and oceans into massive disarray, annihilating much of earths civilization. UFO sends landing parties of thousands of clones of the Male astronaut, Jack Harper - whose memory has been erased and who has been fed some story rationalizing the destruction of the beings left on Earth (whatever this rationalization was is not explained during the movie). He was one of the sharpest and most capable humans and as a clone army equipped with alien technology they quickly destroy the majority of what is left of humanity.
The remaining humans wear disfiguring stealth technology body armor and disguise their voices in order to avoid detection by Alien drones.
The second phase of the alien invasion is to deplete the earth of its energy and resources. Large processing plants are stationed around the major bodies of water and are guarded by large numbers of computer controlled drones. Pairs of the original cloned astronauts are set up in a particular geographical region with the Jack clone acting as a drone technician and repair person and the other female clone as his support staff and communication officer.
Their memories have been wiped and they are given a partly true history of the war. This is the false story they are provided:
They are told that the aliens, called scavengers, destroyed the moon and that there was a large war between the forces of humans and scavengers ultimately won by the humans. Their victory came at a price, however. The humans used nuclear weapons around the world to claim victory, rendering much of the world uninhabitable due to the resulting radiation. The remaining humans retreated to Titan, one of the moons of Jupiter. A human space station, called the Tet, was sent to earth to establish the cleanup crew and monitor the process of returning the earth to an inhabitable form. There are a few pockets of remaining scavengers on the earth however no humans remain except for those in the cleanup crew. One of the duties of the technician is to repair the drones so that they can guard the cleanup processors from the various attacks by the remaining scavengers.
This false story given in addition to a memory wipe which the technician is told is necessary in order to protect humanity. As a result male technician does not know that he is a clone, does not know of the history of the war that produced the environment in which he operates and is unaware that the beings who are called scavengers and regularly killed by himself and by the drones he repairs and operates are human.
In the course of the movie the male astronaut learns that the scavengers are actually human - and the movie portrays his journey as he learns the true nature of the conflict which he is a part of.
If you ever wanted a good story to illustrate some of the moral problems that occur with the method whereby we have employ drone warfare, you could hardly ask for a better allegory.
First - the male tech, Jack, is the metaphor for the American soldier. He is brainwashed, fed a false history which allows him to interpret his actions as just and moral. He has been cloned and expected to operate the same as the next clone. He is expected not to ask questions and to obey orders without hesitation. He and his partner are constantly told to just focus on their specific job at hand - any curiosity about the bigger picture is strongly discouraged.
Next, Jack has been setup to see the scavenger as non-human and alien. This allows him to view their death without remorse. The scavengers represent what ever enemies our soldiers are sent against. Seeing them as alien bent on the destruction of humans, all of their attempts at destroying the processors or himself are seen as acts of aggression rather than defensive.
The drones represent, well drones. They separate jack somewhat from most of the killing of the scavengers. Jack understands that his repair and upkeep of the drones has the direct effect of killing the scavengers. That the programs are actually programmed to kill humans only becomes clear to jack when he is directly present as it carries out its killing on people he knows to be human. This is a metaphor for the drone operators realizing the moral implications of what they are doing only truly when they see the direct human effects of their destruction.
At one key scene when someone comments to Jack that the drones are highly effective weapons he responds by simply stating "No. I am the Weapon." This is the most profound statement of the movie and it's implications carry though all the rest of the points made here.
I really love thoughtful Sci-Fi that forces you to reexamine things that you take for granted in the real world from another perspective. Oblivion does this very well and in a manner that is not heavy handed. Take all your Neocon friends to the movie and see if any of them appreciate these themes. (hint - they will not)
I am sure there are more layers to this. Please add your own in the comments!