I’ll tell you right now, this movie is hard to talk about without spoiling anything at all. I’m going to try my best to talk about it, but I’m not going to promise that it will be spoiler free. This movie is another great example of a pure sci-fi film. It’s smart, beautifully shot, and tends to be vague in so many ways, that it makes the audience think. If you’re a sci-fi enthusiast and plan to watch the movie, then stop reading and go watch it. It’s really that good. This is your last warning before I ruin anything for you.
The movie stars Tom Cruise as Jack, not Reacher, who is a drone repairman in a post-apocalyptic ruined Earth. He is accompanied by Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough, who is his communications officer/lover. The movie starts off with Jack narrating the background of the world, which is that a bunch of aliens invaded Earth, we used nukes to wipe them out, thus destroying the planet, and moving all of humanity to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Jack has to repair these drones that are being destroyed by the alien remnants, since they defend these giant rigs that suck up the Earth’s water supply, and at the same time, fight the alien remnants, called Scavs. Soon, Jack finds a crashed pod that relates to a Scav beacon, where he discovers some humans, and the drones start killing them. He manages to rescue one human Julia, played by Olga Kurylenko, who seems to be in Jack’s dreams. He is then captured by the Scavs, where the Morpheus character Beech, played by the enigmatic Morgan Freeman, reveals to be the leader of these remnants, and told Jack that nothing is what it seems. From there, plot twists are revealed, and cool action scenes ensue.
I felt like the twist was a bit too predictable, since I had a feeling it was something like that just by watching the trailers. However, the journey up to it is what made it enjoyable. Jack has some sort of relation to Julia, and he tries to fight against everything he knows to find out what that connection really is. The movie also hints that there is something wrong with the situation, since the headquarters called the Tet floats around in space like some sort of emotionless angel, watching over the Earth. Then the drones give off a very scary monster aura, which made me question if man really made these machines or not. Then we get the subtle appearances of the Scavs, where they first look like robotic dogs, then turned into a Tusken Raider and Predator infusion. However, the Scavs look a lot less scary than the drones. The film messes with the audience mind by telling us that the drones are good, but the way they are shot along with the sound effects tells us something different. In a way, it asks us what you should really believe: what people tell you, or what you really see and feel. We also get the theme of the film from Stanza XXVII of “Horatius” from “Lay of Rome”, which is “To every man upon this earth, Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better, Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.” This is the theme of the whole film, which came in full circle at the end in such a genius and brilliant way, it puts a tear into my eye.
The best way to describe the way the film is shot is beauty. Despite how ruined the Earth is, with every monument that showcase the civilization of humanity ruined and buried, there is a sense of beauty built into it. It’s like a painting that one can stare at, and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the planet. In many ways, it’s like the aliens became the second god of the earth, recreating it in a way that is similar to the beauty of nature. Another deep symbol built into the movie. The action sequences are also cool to watch, since they’re not really super fast paced or confusing. It shows everything that is going on, and it starts off slow, and eventually builds up to giant explosions. We even get a mini-video game sequence on the ship Jack pilots. Jack also runs a lot, which seems to be in Tom Cruise’s contract, since every movie that guy has been in involves him running.
The acting is a bit subpar, since each actor didn’t go all the way with it. Tom Cruise did a good job in having the audience relate to him a bit, but some of the emotional seem to fall short with him. Andrea Riseborough does a good job in making me hate her since her character is a stickler for rules, but one scene of her crying is a bit laughable. Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman, not much to argue there. Then there’s Olga Kurylenko, whose only job is to look worry and be a dramatic push to the main plot. Oh yeah, Jamie Lanaster made a short appearance as a sniper expert/scruffy-looking-man-who-hates-the-main-character guy. He even gets a cheesy 80’s action movie moment near the end, which is always something I love to see.
I have to give a lot of credit to the director, Joseph Kosinski. Not only did he co-write this movie, he also wrote the graphic novel the movie is based off of. He knew how this movie was going to be like before it even started, and he really pulls it off. The beautiful artful sceneries, the great stories, and a great direction really made this movie a pure sci-fi film. If you’re still not convinced in watching this movie, it pays great homage to many sci-fi films in the past such as Moon, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and some of Phillip K. Dick’s stories.