In the new film Oblivion, the world meets its match when a network of alien imposters nearly destroy all of humanity, leaving the Earth a barren and ravaged territory monitored by an army of drones.
Morgan Freeman co-stars in the movie alongside Tom Cruise, and says while he has “mixed feelings” on the use of drones – officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles – he does see the advantage to using them for military strategy.
“We’re getting rid of a lot of bad guys without killing ourselves, without putting our own troops into harm’s way,” the 75-year-old star tells theGrio at the Hollywood premiere. “I think the controversy’s over collateral damage, but there’s collateral damage with I don’t care what you use.”
Freeman compares military drone attacks to air raids in wars, a combat strategy which has also killed innocent civilians despite its human-led operations.
“When we were dropping bombs from 45,000 feet, [people] didn’t care,” Freeman points out. “They didn’t know.”
Superstars take on the future world
While Oblivion may not explore the intricacies of anti-terrorist ploys, it does present a unique futuristic scene where computers hold more power than human intelligence, and drones are left to decipher good from evil. The storyline plays out 60 years into the future at a time when human life has practically vanished due to extraterrestrial incursion, and the world has turned predominately ashen.
Now the only man left alive, Cruise and his partner (Andrea Riseborough) remain on the planet in an isolated skytower, where they serve a mysterious human commander in an operation to extract the planet’s remaining resources and destroy the imposters with the assistance of their drones.
Freeman said he chose to join the film simply to work with Cruise, and that he’s more limited than people would expect when it comes to his selection of movie roles.
“There’s definitely stuff that I’ve wanted to do, that I’ve never gotten the chance to do, and can’t do now cause I’m past the age for it,” he explains. “Jobs just come your way. It’s not like you have your pick of anything…But Tom Cruise, working with him – it’s great. I’m hoping it’s not the last time.”
Cruise plays the last man on Earth, a character he describes as an average, ordinary, “blue collar drone repair guy.” As a fan of both action and sci-fi, the star says he liked the setting and conflict that Oblivion presented, and feels he’d never read a script of this nature before.
Additionally, he says it offered a philosophical approach to innovation, and possibly even a forecast of what’s to come in technological advancement.
“I don’t want those drones in the real world,” Cruise admits. “But sci-fi is dealing with humanity. It’s always dealing with future: man versus machine and identity; what do you believe, what don’t you believe. I think that kind of thing is told in a very unique way.”