New Oblivion Trailer Hints at the Politics of Tom Cruise’s Dystopian Earth

It’s been nearly a decade since we saw Tom Cruise in a solid sci-fi movie, so his new action-adventure film Oblivion has been hotly anticipated since the first trailer dropped in December. That first glimpse sketched for us the parameters of Jack Harper’s (Cruise) world: Sixty years after an alien invasion, Earth is uninhabitable. Humanity has retreated to cities above the clouds, with gray-suited drone workers like Jack sent to the planet to retrieve vital data.

What Jack discovers instead is human survivors dressed all in black—including a rad Morgan Freeman doing his best impression of Morpheus from The Matrix—and a planetwide conspiracy. The new trailer, released this morning, starts to fill in those lines with more hints as to what caused the attack on Earth and why “the good guys” are firing on other humans.

At this point, we can grasp the dynamic between the sterile, gray humans of the sky and the dirt-covered, leather-clad resistance fighters underground. But this trailer also tells us more about Jack’s stoic colleague Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) and their Mission Control liaison Sally (Melissa Leo). Leo is really creepy as their quasi-mother figure, especially when she intones, “Are you an effective team?”

Thankfully, this looks to be less War of the Worlds and more Minority Report. (The color palette is even similar.) Director Joseph Kosinski wrote the graphic novel on which Oblivion is based, though he was aided in the screenwriting process by none other than Star Wars Episode VII scribe Michael Arndt.

Interestingly, at the end of the trailer the following blurb popped up. While still vague, it’s a more detailed synopsis than we’ve seen thus far:

A court martial sends a veteran soldier to a distant planet, where he has to destroy the remains of an alien race. The arrival of an unexpected traveler causes him to question what he knows about the planet, his mission, and himself.

Oblivion opens exclusively in IMAX theaters on April 12 and then nationwide April 19, 2013.

Natalie Zutter is a playwright, foodie, and the co-creator of Leftovers, a webcomic about food trucks in the zombie apocalypse. Her writing has appeared on Ology and Crushable, where she discusses celebrity culture alongside internet memes (or vice versa). Weekly you can find her commenting on pop culture on KoPoint’s podcast AFK On Air, calling in to the Hunger Games Fireside Chat podcast, reviewing new releases at Movie Mezzanine, and on Twitter.


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