The world of Oblivion is one of decimation. Earth won in its war against the Tet but lost the planet. As Jack Harper, the protagonist of the story, states, earth had to use the nukes. What that did was caused mass radiation across the planet, causing environmental decline and degradation. It led to the planet becoming no longer habitable for human beings. In turn, this causes many of earth’s humans to be transferred to Titan. This is the promised land where Jack and Vika Olsen are told they can go to after they complete their mission on earth.
To talk about Oblivion’s world, it is definitely a beautiful one. The scenery is immense and the landscape leaves one open to imagination. However, it is one of hopelessness. In the beginning of the film, there is little hope that the earth will ever be populated by humanity again. It’s what leads into the hero and villain struggle of the movie. The question is: who can be trusted? Both Jack and Vika think that Sally, who is in charge of giving them their orders, is on their side. Initially, that’s how things were. We think that Malcolm Beech and the scavengers are the bad guys because they are said to be aliens.
However, things change and Jack’s world is turned upside down by the appearance of Julia Rusakova Harper, his wife. It’s something that causes the protagonist to question everything he knows. It begins to validate the strange dreams he’s been having about her despite thinking he should be in love with Vika in his current life. Jack discovers that the world he knew was a lie and that his previous life was the real one. In fact, he finds out that not only is he a clone of the original Jack but there are others out there like him. This is where Malcolm comes in.
Malcolm is responsible for making Jack see the light. He causes the protagonist to realize that he was misguided the entire time. Jack starts the rightly see that Sally is actually the Tet and the enemy that wiped out a good portion of humanity. Up until that point, Jack was living a different life in a tower. That tower post is state of the art. The aircraft he uses resembles a cross between a high-tech helicopter and an airplane. It lets him move around protected against enemy combatants that might try to harm him.
The device also keeps him in touch with Vika and Sally throughout his day as he checks different drones throughout his assigned area. He is never to go beyond his sector, as he later finds out. The tower comes complete with a pool, fitness room, bedroom overlooking the sky, and a high-tech bathroom too. The Tet intends to keep them comfortable while they think nothing more about the life they are living. They are supposed to go about their duties without questioning what they’re doing. It’s only when Jack begins to build a home outside the tower post that he begins to question his reality.
Jack goes out of his way to build a cabin of sorts in an area that has not been affected by the radiation that has swept the planet. He is still clinging to the world he once knew and remembers. It’s something that he cannot escape in his mind. He often takes small breaks there while checking on the drones. The combat drones, themselves, are very futuristic and something that could one day come to our reality. They are set to defend their region and generators against any of the scavengers. Sometimes, though, they will think that Jack or others are the enemy.
It makes sense that technology still was prone to error. The danger it presents to Jack causes him to identify himself as his job and the sector he overlooks. It’s plausible the technology of this world would be within ours potentially, especially when it comes to the stasis chambers. These have been widely seen across many different Sci-Fi films but serve a purpose here. They are geared toward preserving human life such as Julia who survived in the wreckage of Jack’s ship. It saves her and allows her to save Jack’s life too. This could become a reality for us, should we look at expanding space travel. For the Tet, it is especially something mysterious.
We only get glimpses of what it did to earth before toward the end, we get a glimpse of its inner working. It creates clones of Jack and Vika who are brainwashed servants to anything it tells them to do. They are supposed to stay on their tower post, going about their duties in its service. It also chooses to take on the person of Sally, who was in contact with Jack’s ship before the Tet wiped her out likely. It seeks to enslave humanity continually and keep its greatest champion, Jack, turned against them. Malcolm’s intervention is what causes the Tet to lose. It seems to be a highly intelligent artificial intelligence. Who says that the Tet might have not been created by humanity itself?
Since it is a machine, it seems plausible its creation could have come from human hands. With the way our world is going and the increase in artificial intelligence, it could be possible that the world of Oblivion comes to bear on our own reality. Imagine Neil Armstrong or another famous astronomer turning against humanity while the survivors of the war with the Tet live underground. Joseph Kosinski, the director, is truly a visionary with what he is able to create here. Our technology is not so far off from where things are at in this movie and the circumstances are plausible. It only depends on the direction we choose to take as humans going forward.