There are two versions of plot summary for 'Oblivion'. The one that's been up at IMDb for a while:
- 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.
And the new one:
- Jack Harper (Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack’s mission is nearly complete. Living and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.
Okay, so? Well, there's a discrepancy. In the first rundown Harper is on a 'distant planet'. In the new synopsis Harper is 'stationed on Earth'.
This could be a spoiler that stems from early versions of the script being the source of the older logline.
At 2:02 in the trailer below the text reads "Earth is a memory." This is central. It could be taken as 'the Earth as we've known it has been raked by warfare for so long it bears little resemblance to home', or more literally as in: 'The planet the human race lived on doesn't exist anymore'.
Bit of a stretch, or just the kind of plot twist you need to get butts in seats?
The character played by Tom Cruise, Jack Harper, says (at :23) "Sixty years ago Earth was attacked." What's important about that, as far as figuring the plot and where exactly this story unfolds, is Harper is younger than 60. That is, he was told as a kid that Earth was attacked and he, Harper, lives on that Earth/planet. In other words: Harper did not see this war he learned about it as child in school. In history class. Therefore, he could have been lied to. This is exactly the kind of thing a protagonist finds out about at the Act II midpoint.
Another clue in the new synopsis is the bit about Harper rescuing someone in a downed spacecraft. Well... If Earth is in such a state -- everything destroyed, smoking rubble -- then who built this spacecraft and where did it come from? The 'other' Earth would be the answer that suggests itself.
There's also the similarity between the building in the poster (from yesterday) and the Empire State Building.
What could that indicate? There's so many possibilities, but that there are two Empire State Buildings seems the best, simplest, conclusion. That the building in the poster is the same as the one currently in NYC doesn't quite hold together considering the waterfall, and all. So, where's the other one? On another 'Earth' is what I'm going with.
There's another loose spot. In the first version of plot summary Harper 'has to destroy the remains of an alien race'. However, in the trailer the 'people' (Morgan Freeman among them) don't look alien, they look human. As such, it follows that Harper could be killing the last survivors on Earth, under orders, from high up in an aircraft, having been told they are 'aliens' who need to be exterminated, having never actually seen who/what he's shooting at.
Why would Harper be told that?
Possibility: Freeman et al were left behind when the other people went to the new 'Earth', the new home planet. Now, they have to be killed so they don't follow the rest of the human race to the new planet.
So then, why does the ESB in the poster have a waterfall next to it? That would be because it's the new ESB. The one built on what used to be the new Earth/home planet. The first one is on the 'old' Earth. That is, Harper is not on the Earth we live on, he's on another planet the human race moved to after this one, the one we live on now, became uninhabitable.
Which leads to this plot element: Humans have become a race of people who live on a planet, using up its resources and polluting its environment, until it is no longer capable of supporting life, at which time they move to another planet.
Harper lives on the planet we moved to after this one dried up and he is exterminating the last witnesses who know what really happened on the planet and where the survivors went. (This goes hand in hand with Freeman's age -- he's older, hence would have been around before Harper was born). He does this because he thinks it's a necessary cleanup after the war 60 years ago. However, there was no war. The Earth wasn't destroyed in war it was destroyed by us, by humans, who overpopulated the planet, bled natural resources, and set the ecosystem so off kilter it could no longer work as designed. As a result, natural forces -- massive floods, uncontrolled fire, huge storms -- scoured the planet making it uninhabitable.
So, we packed up and headed to the next 'Earth' -- the 3rd if you're counting. This would make the planet Harper lives on the 2nd 'Earth', the one we moved to after the above mentioned forces scrubbed clean the surface of this planet, the 1st Earth.
Right now, 'Oblivion' is looking pretty rich, however the existence of an old synopsis, presumably from an earlier version of the script, and other clues have to be considered, at the very least, spoiler-ish.
Still, I'm looking forward.
Okay, that (second trailer below) didn't last long. Here's another one.
«Oblivion» - Trailer #1 by Flixgr