I recently went to see Tom Cruise’s new Hollywood mega-movie, Oblivion, in theaters and I want to start out by saying I really enjoyed it! The movie lived up to what I had envisioned – futuristic Earth wasting away as what’s left of society survives millions of miles away on one of Saturn’s moons. All the while, Cruise’s character – astronaut extraordinaire Jack Harper – is left behind to defend giant harvesting units as they siphon what’s left of Earth’s oceans. The concept is pretty straight forward but the cinematography is truly stunning. Everyday Jack flies around in his trusty – and very bad ass – futuristic helicopter as he looks for fallen drones and Scavs (left-over bad guy invaders), while occasionally sight seeing across what’s left of Earth and New York City. I don’t want to give too much of the movie away but at a certain point in the film it dawned on me that I had seen a movie with a similar premise a year or so ago called – Moon.
Moon, starring Sam Rockwell, was a low-budget Sundance film but was one of the better sci-fi flicks I had seen in a while. It really stuck with me after watching it because you feel so bad for the main character, also named Sam. Without going into great detail Sam is an engineer on the Moon working for a government agency who is harvesting a certain type of helium off the giant rock. Sam is all alone in the space station except for his trusty computer side-kick, GERTY, who is really there to keep Sam from finding out the truth. Eventually, Sam figures out that he is one of many clones and that everything he has known up to that point has been a lie. He figures out the government agency he had been working for had been blocking his signals and repeating his life in order to harvest mass amounts of helium from the Moon for cheap profits.
This is the commonality between the two movies that is so eerily similar. Both men are trapped in this vicious cycle, both have multiple clones, both are harvesting something for unknown reasons, and both eventually figure out a way to break this pattern. Other similarities exist but I don’t want to ruin too much of either movie for anyyone, but trust me the similarities are pretty amazing.
I have to say both movies are very good, and although Moon was probably shot on a shoe-string budget compared to Oblivion I think it gets my vote. You have a better and more emotional connection with Sam’s character throughout the movie, and although Oblivion does do a good job developing Jack’s character, he still feels too rough around the edges to truly care much about. That being said, I really love the underlying greed aspect that both movies have – it rings so true in today’s world.
Overall, I recommend you see both movies and see for yourself the uncanny similarities they share – plus they’re both great sci-fi films filled with good acting, great visuals and thought provoking endings!