One can pick apart "Oblivion" for its liberal pilfering of science-fiction tales and tropes or sit back and enjoy how cleverly director Joseph Kosinski builds those spare parts into a fast, exhilarating and sometimes smart thrill ride.
It's 2077, we're told, and Earth is a wasteland. As our hero, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), informs us in the opening voiceover, alien invaders called The Scavengers attacked the Earth, and humans fought back with nuclear weapons driving away the Scavs but leaving Earth uninhabitable. The surviving humans have relocated to a terraformed new home on Titan, Saturn's moon, except for a few good soldiers, like Jack, left behind to maintain the robot drones that patrol the planet.
Jack and his mission partner/lover, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), spend their days monitoring drones and dodging rogue Scavs, with Jack in the field and Victoria watching the screens back at their home base with their only contact a Mission Control official, Sally (Melissa Leo), on a space station called Tet. Jack and Victoria hold onto the hope that their mission is nearly over, and they will soon go to live on Titan.