In the not-too-distant future aliens invade and attempt to conquer the earth.  Humanity won this war, we are told, but only at the cost of our planet’s devastation.  Now a mere cleanup crew of sorts remains to maintenance the drones and machines that harvest water energy in order for the rest of the world’s population to make its new home in space.  Tom Cruise plays Jack, who, along with partner and lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), is due to leave the earth in a matter of weeks after servicing some equipment and picking off a few “scavs”, alien remnants that pilfer supplies and sabotage the energy works.  To his surprise, however, he learns that he and Victoria are not alone, and, still more shocking, that his mission and perhaps even he himself may conceal a sinister purpose.

A superlative science fiction adventure, Oblivion also works as an encapsulation of Tom Cruise’s career thus far, his character here alluding to previous roles with his enthusiasm for sports (as in All the Right Moves and Jerry Maguire), daredevil flying skills (think Top Gun), and brave stand against extraterrestrial invaders (cf. War of the Worlds). Cruise is particularly handsome and rugged as Jack, and has not one but two sexy international love interests in Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko.  The visual design of Oblivion is an appealing combination of futuristic sterility and earthy grime and decay; and the soundtrack is also strong, with the drones, which resemble flying, spherical R2D2s, actually contributing a quasi-musical element with their intimidating electronic blares.  Surprising given its title and the bleakness of the scenario is that Oblivion manages to deliver a satisfyingly happy ending, so that the film is highly recommended and particularly in the big screen experience, where its special effects and scope can be properly appreciated.

4.5 stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Oblivion is:

6. Multiculturalist/anti-clone.  Morgan Freeman leads the resistance and gets to play the sacrificial Negro.  As in Life of Pi, audiences are warned of the potential horror of a completely homogenous Caucasian population.

5. Green-ambivalent.  While Jack enjoys the rustic zero-technology life, the film acknowledges that alternative energies are a scheme of the New World Order.

4. Mildly pro-miscegenation.  Cruise’s involvement with Eurasian-looking Ukrainian Olga Kurylenko is a borderline case.

3. Luddite and specifically anti-drone.  Though drones are convenient and efficient and one even comes to Jack’s aid against the scavs, the things are only as trustworthy as their programmers.

2. Pro-liberty/pro-gun.  Sykes (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), after defending himself against a drone, poses picturesquely with his gun in front of the Liberty Bell.

1. NWO-alarmist/antiwar.  Jack’s employers, the centralized bureaucracy controlling everything, reside in an ominous spacecraft in the shape of an inverted pyramid.  The Statue of Liberty is a ruin, freedom having been destroyed along with the earth in the natural course of war.