Genre: Sci-fi
Premise: (from IMDB) A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.
About: While this draft was written by “The Departed” screenwriter William Monahan, Monahan didn’t seem to make the final cut when the credits were given out. The writer doing the revisions here, Karl Gajdusek, gets credit, along with Joseph Kosinski (the director) and Michael Arndt (significant since this is the only sci-fi script we have from Arndt, who is of course writing Star Wars VII). Gajdusek is probably best known for writing the 2011 thriller “Trespass” which starred past-their-prime actors Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman. He also created the recent TV series, “Last Resort,” about a bunch of deceived American military men forced to take over an island to defend themselves against the very country that is supposed to be protecting them. Oblivion stars Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, and is directed by ultra-slick Tron: Legacy director, Joseph Kosinski.
Writer: William Monahan (current revisions by Karl Gajdusek) (Based on the story by Joseph Kosinski)
Details: 109 pages (March 27, 2011 draft)


I heard good things about this script over the past year or so. But one criticism kept coming back at me – The first half was really good. The second half, not so much.

Didn’t matter. I was still interested. William Monahan isn’t known for sci-fi, so his involvement was intriguing. The guy excels at period pieces, which are great springboards for sci-fi writers, since period pieces are all about research and world-building and detail. Those same tools are what’s needed to create great sci-fi.

I also love the trailer for this. I’ve been a fan of Kosinski since Tron: Legacy. I know the plot in that film wasn’t the greatest, but boy was the direction slick. Directing-wise, Kosinski reminds me of a young Gore Verbinski, someone who understood how to make a commercial film, yet has just enough of a unique eye and temperament to make his stuff feel different. I have a feeling that this guy will be directing some of the biggest summer blockbusters in Hollywood within the next couple of years.

Oblivion begins with the mono-named Jack explaining to us (via voice-over) that aliens tried to out-war us humans and lost. The bad news is, because we had to use our nukes to beat’em, it left our planet a shit-hole. Jack is a clean-up guy of sorts. You see, there are still rogue aliens skittering across the planet, and we’ve built these droids to fly around and kill them. But sometimes the aliens shoot our droids down. Jack goes around and fixes them.

When he’s not fixing droids, Jack hangs out at his sky-home with his girlfriend and droid-repair partner, Victoria. She helps monitor the downed droids so Jack knows where to go. The two couldn’t be more different, however. Jack loves Earth, even if it’s fallen apart. Victoria can’t wait to leave so she can be one of the first humans to colonize Mars. In the meantime, the “TET,” a space station orbiting earth that houses the million or so humans remaining, keeps her abreast of their mission goals, and makes sure everything’s running smoothly between her and Jack.

But everything’s not running smoothly with Jack. He keeps having these dreams of another mysterious woman, a woman he was intimate with. That recurring dream eventually comes crashing down, literally, when an old shuttle, launched into orbit before the war, crash-lands, with the woman he’s been seeing in his dreams in one of the sleep chambers. Yikes! Even stranger, when she wakes up, she knows his name!

(MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD) Things unravel from there. When inspecting a downed droid, Jack’s attacked by a group of aliens. He’s shot down, and when he wakes up, he’s in some kind of underground cave. It turns out, the aliens? Not aliens. They’re humans dressed all funky to disguise themselves from the droids. Droids that aren’t hunting down aliens at all. But HUMANS. Why would human-controlled droids be hunting down humans? Because it’s all a lie. The humans didn’t win the war. The aliens did. The TET isn’t an American base. It’s an alien ship. Jack and Victoria have been tricked into helping the aliens exterminate the last of the humans.

But these humans have one last plan in the hopper. They’ve got their hands on a bomb. If they can somehow get someone to deliver it up to the TET, they can destroy the aliens once and for all. Jack would totally be down for this if he wasn’t having a mental breakdown. It’s not easy to learn you’ve been working for the man. Especially when “the man” is a mass murderer of your people! But eventually Jack comes around. He wants to do the right thing and kill some alien ass. But with the TET onto his plan, it very well may be too late.

I gotta say, I really liked this script. The structure was especially strong. Structure is all about setting up pillars and dangling carrots to get you from one pillar to the next. Anything you can do so that we want to make it to the next pillar is fair game. Here, it’s all the mysteries. First, who is the woman in the dreams? Then when he finds her, how does she know his name? Then, what’s on the voice recorder box from the crashed shuttle? Then, what’s in the “forbidden” areas? Monahan keeps us guessing, and therefore keeps us wanting to get to that next pillar.

This then leads us to our eventual goal (back to spoilers) – kill the aliens. But what’s so cool about “Oblivion” is that it layers these story engines. We’re trying to figure things out (what’s in the forbidden zone?) at the same time as we’re gearing up to achieve our goal – kill the aliens.

People often ask me what’s the biggest difference between an amateur and a pro script. There’s no universal answer, but something from Oblivion reminded me of the question: The complexity of the relationships. (major spoilers) Look at the relationship between the three major parties here, Jack, Victoria, and Julia (the girl from the downed shuttle). Jack turns out to be a clone of the man Julia loved. And with Victoria also being a clone, Jack’s relationship with her turns out to be nothing but a fabrication of the alien’s programming. So he’s stuck in a really weird place. He loves both of these women, despite the fact that his love for them isn’t technically “real.” This leads to a lot of gray area whenever the relationships are explored, areas that felt fresh because we’d never seen them before. Do you know how hard it is to create unique male-female relationships in a medium that’s been going on for 100 years? Monahan figured out a way to do it. And that to me is the sign of a professional.

As you know, I’m always talking about conflict. I like how Monahan injected not one element of conflict, but TWO into his main relationship (Jack and Victoria). Jack is carefree while Victoria’s by the book. Jack wants to stay on earth while Victoria’s desperate to leave. For a movie whose first half rests solely on this relationship, adding two elements of conflict instead of one becomes essential. The plot didn’t have enough going on to only house a single lane of conflict between its two main characters. Decisions like this really impressed me.

If I had to log a complaint about Oblivion, it might be how little we see of the human rebels. We basically get a couple of scenes with them and that’s it. I liked the way the script ended, but maybe these guys could’ve logged more minutes prepping Jack and getting things ready for the bomb transfer. My gut tells me that’s probably something they changed in the subsequent drafts. But we’ll see.

I don’t know what readers were talking about when they said the second half of this script wasn’t good. I thought it kept getting better all the way til the end, which is what a good script should do. I’ll be checking this out on opening weekend as I’m curious to see what they’ve changed. I’m guessing it wasn’t much. It would be foolish to mess with this script.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[xx] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: I learned a lot of things from this script. But I think the big one is that if I were writing a sci-fi script, I’d keep a handful of mysteries in my story until the very end. One of the problems with a lot of these generic sci-fi movies today is that they show all their cards early, and the second half of the script amounts to a business-like execution of the goal. Oblivion has questions going all the way up until the end. The story then becomes more about getting these answers than it does executing the big traditional climax. So dangle those carrots all the way until the end of your story, people. Don’t let us eat’em too early.

  • Jon Ridge

    The trailer for this doesn’t look interesting. First 20 pages of this script aren’t interesting. Endless descriptions of panoramic futuristc vistas and tech speak prove the writer has done his or her homework but otherwise, aren’t interesting. I haven’t cared this little about earth’s fight against The Scavs post-2015, or New York Giants football in a long, long time.

    Was this impossible to get into, or am I just in a foul mood?


    • klmn

      I checked the trailer and- IT STARS TOM CRUISE!

      The horror! The horror! How long before he’s sent to the has been actors’ home?

      Is this movie produced by the Church of Scientology? (and is Carson a member?)

      • Poe_Serling

        lol. You’re a funny guy, klmn.

        And a huge thanks to opening my eyes to see the bigger picture. I guess all of Carson’s comments and tweets about In-and-Out were just a cover for his back alley meetings with David Miscavige (best man at all of Cruise’s weddings). It figures that no one can be that passionate about a good burger and some fries.

        ***To be honest, I’d probably fall into the Tom Cruise fan club. I like how he attacks all his roles with the ferocity of a wild dog… better than someone who just sleepwalks through a series of money grab films.

        • garrett_h

          Gotta admit, I’m a Cruise fan too (CoS aside).

          He’s been terrific in some of his recent roles, especially Tropic Thunder, Rock of Ages, and of course MI:4 where he did his own stunts hanging from the Burj Khalifa.

          I really don’t think he’s done. He has plenty in the tank IMO.

          Stallone and Ah-nold, on the other hand…

          • Poe_Serling

            I agree. Cruise still has some tread left on his wheels.

            And hey, look at 70 year old Harrson Ford… 3 films in the can, shooting Anchorman 2, with Stars Wars and Indy 5 looming in his future. He’ll need an armored truck to get all his cash to the bank.

          • Christian Zilko

            I don’t like Tom Cruise, but I agree with you about Ford. He’s great for the movies he makes and is just as cool now as he was 30 years ago.

          • Poe_Serling

            Yeah, there’s that rare group of actors like Eastwood, Freeman, Ford, Hackman & Connery (before they retired) and company that get to age gracefully and still find some interesting roles to play.

        • klmn

          I can’t accept Cruise as an action star. It just seems silly- like midget wrestling.

          • Poe_Serling

            When I was a kid, midget wrestling on TV was always my favorite – guess that kinda explains my affinity TC films.

          • klmn
          • Poe_Serling

            He was the Wilt Chamberlain of film directors. Wow! – almost 200 directing credits on his resume. A couple that I remember seeing are The Awful Dr. Ofloff and Count Dracula with Christopher Lee.

          • klmn

            Don’t tell me you missed Vampyros Lesbos.

          • Poe_Serling

            I’ve heard about that one, but I must admit I’ve never seen it. To work through Franco’s entire filmography, it would require a lot of buttered popcorn and
            free time.

          • RayFinkleLacesOut

            notsureifsrs. He’s probably one of the best action stars. 50 years old and still out doing every one in action with MI:Ghost Protocol.

          • Xarkoprime


            There was a good invterview on collider with the director of this film and he complimented Cruise for all of his work on the process of creating it. Apparently he really involves himself in the projects that he gets attached to, often making suggestions and delving deep into the brainstorming process.

            Like him or not, he has a great resume. Because he took a few years off and had a nasty divorce (how many good divorces are there? really?), he’s washed up and a has been? Please.

        • Citizen M

          I’m a Cruise fan. The guy delivers. But in this particular role, Jack, I dunno.

          In the script, Jack is early 40s. But his behavior is late 20s, early 30s. He has a very responsible job yet likes to go off the reservation from time to time for the sheer hell of it. To me, that’s that’s youthful behavior. You expect someone fresh-faced and enthusiastic in the role. Someone like Tom Cruise when he did Top Gun 27 years ago.

          But now at 51 years old he’s got the look of a sportsman who has to push his body too hard to compete with the younger guys. The grizzled older veteran who can still cut it but relies on street smarts rather than physicality. The actor who gets roles because of his pulling power at the cineplex rather than suitability for the role.

          • Poe_Serling

            Hey Martin-

            Good point about getting the ‘sportsman’ look. Back when they were filming Indy 4, Spielberg and co. made a big deal about Harrison Ford working out 4 hours day (weights, yoga, etc) so he could still fit into his fedora and move like he did in Raiders.

            But I agree there’s a noticeable difference between youthful physicality/exuberance and matureful physicality/exuberance.

    • rosemary

      Agreed. The trailer for me just screams Eh. I watch it but I wont run to theater. I’m half way through the script. i’m liking it so idk lol

  • Age_C

    I’ve been following this and After Earth for a while now, the subsequent trailers for each have definitely got me waaay more interested in Oblivion. It looks fkn good, so I decided not to read this review past your spoiler warning. I think it might be one to enjoy at the cinema going in completely ignorant and up for an adventure…

  • ThomasBrownen

    Carson’s review is spot on. This was definitely a professional work and it shows. I liked how cool the world felt — drones, and a bubbleship, and aliens, and most of all… an abandoned, empty earth. These will look great up on the big screen.

    But I had the exact opposite of the conventional wisdom that Carson was hearing. I thought the first half was kind of slow, and it got better in the second half. The first half was just two characters, and I had hoped the plot would get moving faster. Maybe I’m just thinking this because I saw the trailer before reading the script, and the trailer implies that Jack steps in the bear trap and then meets Morgan Freeman. But in the script, he steps in the bear trap, then has another 20-30 pages before meeting the rebels.

    But I really started to like this in the second half. We started getting some answers, but not enough to allow us to completely fill in all the answers.

    Still, I think this wouldn’t get an [x] Impressive from me because it still seemed to play everything somewhat safe, and I wanted a bit more. More from the human rebellion on earth. More about his fight against TET. More about the other Jack and Victoria clones (which seemed really cool). Maybe I wished they had pushed the concept a bit further than they did, but I always felt like I knew where the story was going ahead of time, even if the details weren’t quite filled in yet.

    Two interesting differences I noticed between the script and the trailer: (1) It looks like Victoria betrays Jack to his face in the trailer. In the script, she tells TET that they’re no longer a team, and then he shows up. In the trailer, she tells TET that they’re no longer a team while standing directly across a glass window pane from him. This face-to-face betrayal is probably a lot more emotional. (2) TET is no longer a text message, but an actress. Probably a cool idea to give TET a human face.

    • garrett_h

      Didn’t even notice those changes in the trailer. Good eye. Maybe I didn’t pay attention enough? Or is there a new one?

    • James Parr

      Having seen the movie, I like how the face of TET is explained. Very cool.

  • martin_basrawy

    Love Tom Cruise. Will be seeing this opening day. Glad to hear the script (or at least this draft of it) is solid.

  • Xarkoprime

    When I saw that Oblivion was going to be reviewed on Wednesday, I was super excited. I’ve been wanting to discuss this since I’d read it a couple months back.

    I think your review was pretty on point, Carson. You pretty much hit most of what I wanted to say about the aspects of the script that I enjoyed. I felt the mystery is what drove the story forward. From a personal standpoint, this is my favorite tool to use and watch. When there’s mystery, I’m always wondering what’s going to happen next. Even if the story takes some weird directions that don’t quite make sense, I keep reading because I can’t stop without solving the mystery. I feel that most people are like me, and that’s why the show Lost captivated so many people.

    I have a big concern, though. Apparently a lot of people have called the movie from the trailer. People on iMDB discussion boards have predicted it. I can kinda see how the trailer gives away most of the movie. I think this is probably why most of the people Carson talked to have said the second half is shit, because they saw it coming. Myself, I didn’t really look too far into the trailer. Just saw Tom Cruise, sci-fi, aliens, underground group of people unlike him. As soon as the story kicks off and we get background information and dreams of a mysterious woman, I knew what was going to happen.

    On a side note, did anyone else feel let down when the writer decided to -spoilers- kill off Victoria? I mean, before we discover the clone aspect? We begin with Veronica as the main love interest, we kind of get involved in that relationship, and then this mysterious girl comes and we’re forced away from it. I enjoyed Veronica and Jack. I didn’t even know who this Julia person was, so everything from there on felt forced. I get this isn’t a love story, and you could say V was just a clone anyway, but then so is Jack!

    When the whole clone aspect was introduced, I felt disconnected from Jack. This disconnection was probably associated with the other Jacks, who made him feel less real. I can see how some people have said the second half sucked outside of predictability as well I guess.

    I kind of just talked myself out of being hyped for this movie, because up until commenting I kind of liked it. Now I’m not so sure. Very interested to see what Ardnt has done to the story, if much at all.

    I predict a 60% on the tomatometer.

    More accurate: 57%

    • ThomasBrownen

      I wonder if they had to put some spoiler-ish stuff in the trailer because the first half of the script is a little low story density-wise. Without a revelation of some sort of twist, it just seems like another last-man-on-earth story.

      I also wonder if the story could have benefited from a stronger villain. It’s pretty much the 116 droid and then TET at the end. If you have a villain, the villain’s goals can take the plot in unexpected directions, while here, you have more of a slow-burn of the protagonist uncovering the truth.

      • Xarkoprime

        Interesting thought. I think you’d have to introduce him late in order to keep the mystery flowing in the first half. I can’t see them introducing a memorable villain mid-way without him being thinly written.

    • garrett_h

      I agree about the trailer. It gave away entirely too much IMO. I guess they’re trying to sell it as an action piece instead of the slow build that it is. Plus, Marketing probably felt better by revealing another bankable, likable star in Morgan Freeman. Maybe they don’t feel as confident as they used to in hanging the entire movie on Tom Cruise? My guess is this would have been marketed much differently 10 years ago.

      *SPOILERS* I kind of liked him killing off Victoria. I was very unexpected for me. If done right, the death of one of the main characters can be pretty powerful. But I can see why you had problems with it, as we didn’t really get to extrapolate the maximum amount of conflict and tension from her situation if she had been around for the later reveals.

    • tipofthenose

      Hello, could you send me the Script???? Please! Thanks

  • MayfieldLake

    As a rule of thumb I despise science fiction. But when I read this script way back when, I loved it from start to finish. I loved the ambience/atmosphere of the opening, it drew me in. But what I remember most about the script is I recall thinking that there were two big twists well spaced that both caught me off guard and threw the story in a completely new direction. To me it’s no surprise that Tom Cruise signed on for such strong work.

    I’m delighted to see that it’s based on a story by the director. That he had a hand in creating the story says a lot about his story sense to me.

  • Jean Robie

    Carson, whose draft are you reviewing here? Is it the shooting script? Has the WGA assigned final screen credits? I think it’s important to give credit where it’s due here.

  • Lisa Aldin

    Can’t wait to see this. I really feel like that the trailers give away too much though, although not all, of course. I’m glad I read it before those came out because it made for an exciting read.

  • ripleyy

    I’ve been waiting eagerly for this since the very beginning so I skimmed past the review (sorry) but I got my hands on the graphic novel once and I thought – from what I looked at – it looked great. Plus, Tom Cruise always gets my vote. It’s impossible for me to turn down both a Tom Cruise movie and a Sci-Fi

  • Citizen M

    I read it about a year ago and this is what I felt at the time:

    VERDICT: Major plot holes and improbabilities make this tale of derring-do strictly for the kids. [x] not for me.

    • Citizen M

      Seeing as Carson thought so highly of it, I read it again. I’m more impressed now.

      One thing that struck me was how cinematic the writing was. As if the writer was describing what we see on the screen. It slows the reading down a tad, but I think that for unfamiliar sci-fi worlds some extra description is desirable.

      You can see why Tom Cruise was attracted to the role. He gets to be hero with a whole planet to play on and nasty aliens to blow up. Not to mention a beautiful companion to return to in a spectacular sky-high canyon.

      The second half of the script, where the true nature of the Scavs is revealed, was a bit hard to follow. I didn’t see clearly the logic behind their actions. But there were enough twists and turns in the storyline to keep it interesting.

      I wouldn’t call this the thinking man’s sci-fi. It’s for those who like a fast-moving story with all phasers blasting in a land of wonders. I predict middling success.

  • ArabyChic

    This script is definintely well-written. From the structure, to the characters to the set-pieces, everything is so deftly handled, it seems effortless…


    However, I think the final reveal, of who Jack is and what his part was in the war, is weak. I felt cheated, like they only were allowed a certain number of characters so had to endlessly reuse them for different purposes. I appreciate that by not showing aliens they remain a mystery, but having the aliens use clones instead, well, anything else, to fight their war seemed like an arbitrary and contrived choice, solely utilized for the “OH. MY. GOD!!” twist. Which instead made me go, “… what? Oh, man! That’s stupid!”

  • blue439

    I dunno. “Human resistance” and aliens winning sound a lot like the Terminator movies except this substitutes aliens (apparently unseen through most of the piece) for machines. I’m also wondering that if the main source of conflict in the piece is Victoria, is she also Jack’s antagonist? It doesn’t seem like she is, at least not in the story which really isn’t about Jack wanting to stay on Earth and Victoria wanting to leave. While I’m a fan of Monahan’s work, particularly Tripoli, it seems a consistent problem that his protag’s don’t really have clear personal goals and their antag’s are vague, too. It seems like in a lot of his work it’s the complicated CIRCUMSTANCES, rather than a clear cut antag that end up squeezing the protag. This makes his scripts interesting, but not real satisfying since the antag is so amorphous.

    • garrett_h

      Trust me, it’s NOTHING like the Terminator movies.

      • blue439

        That’s too bad.

  • garrett_h

    I raved about this script a week or two ago in the comments, and I’d like to think my recommendation had something to do with it being chosen for today’s review (and not it’s impending release lol).

    I pretty much agree with Carson’s review. It was my favorite sci-fi script from last year. I read the Monahan draft, not the rewrite Carson read. But they sound pretty similar, spoilers and all. I’m VERY curious to see how/why he didn’t get credit on the final film.

    People said they didn’t like the second half, but I disagree. I felt like the stakes kept getting raised throughout with each reveal. It built up from a deep, esoteric, minimal opening – it’s pretty much just two people and their relationship – then ramping up in increments until all of humanity is at stake. It was a master class in story progression IMO. Something I definitely will keep in mind for my future scripts.

    I wasn’t crazy about the trailer. I like Kosinski as a director, and I was pleasantly surprised with TRON. But I think he’s a little too slick for this one, and I would’ve preferred a grittier feel as opposed to the polished look in the trailer.

    But as long as they keep the story intact, I have a feeling this will be a hit, driven by a solid opening and terrific word of mouth. I’ve been telling everyone I know that it’s going to be an awesome movie. Can’t wait for opening night. I’ll be first in line!

  • JakeMLB

    Certainly a professional work and one of my favorite sci-fi scripts of the last few years. As others have stated: an effortless read.

    That said, the second half was a bit of a let down for me. And by that, I mean the twist or change in story direction. What actually transpires on the page isn’t all that bad. The script gains great momentum near the end and still finishes strong.

    But the reveal is just so “yawn”. It’s well-worn territory that almost ruins the story. It’s just so damn predictable and familiar. I explained only the setup to a friend and he immediately predicted the ending. And don’t get me started on the trailer… I get that you want to market the film based on its cast but come on…

    I have a feeling that the critics will mirror the consensus criticism. It’s a bit of a shame too because the script’s first half was truly one of the more original and compelling pieces of sci-fi screenwriting I’ve read in a long time. But the script’s first half can’t exist without the second so it’s not like there’s an alternate ending somewhere that could shape this into something more. The fact that this film even exists is pretty awesome. I love the new wave of sci-fi.

    I’m hoping the rewrites somehow smoothed out the twist but I’m pretty excited for this one regardless!

    EDIT: It’s been a while since I read it but I recall being confused about how Jack could have been cloned if Julia’s shuttle was still in space. Anyone?

    • garrett_h

      *SPOILERS* Been a while since I read as well, but if I recall, Jack and Victoria left the ship to make contact with The Tet. Everyone else stayed behind. They got on board The Tet and got cloned and everyone else on the ship went into space and were waiting for a chance to use the bomb when the transmission brought them back.

      • JakeMLB

        Ah okay, that would explain it. Not sure if I missed that as it’s been a while. Thanks!

  • NajlaAnn

    Sorry. I’m quite behind in reading, just started to do so. So far, it’s pretty good.

  • Montana Gillis

    Read this a while back. It’s an excellent script with an amazing twist at the end. This will be a “big screen experience”. See you at the theatre!

  • NajlaAnn

    I just finished the read. I like this story and agree with Carson that it would have been nice if we had more of a glimpse of the human rebels. For me the first half was a bit slow, especially the first 37 pages. The second half was quite fast, held my interest, and had a number of reveals and a nice twist.

  • tipofthenose

    Thanks for the emails (you know who you are)! Thanks

  • TGivens

    Can’t wait to see this movie. I didn’t like Tron Legacy, but this one looks really good.

  • Carson Daves


  • Thunk24

    I’ve only read the first half, and story premise aside (I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi) I’m really enjoying it – great lines and superb style. I realize scripts aren’t novels but the more I read the more I notice ‘tone of voice’, and how important the feel of a script can be – it helps form the vision of the finished film in your head.

  • Steven Jeffrey Ross

    wow, if you had problems understanding this you are lost and should not be going to films like this…that said…IN THE PAST 50 YEARS AT LEAST OF REVIEWING FILM, THAT WAS THE SINGLE BEST FILM I HAVE SEEN TO DATE !!!


    by the way, I hate Tom Cruise, but after seeing this, the Man along with this films writer/ director/Producer deserve to be held up like GODS


  • Richard Trenholm

    Bit of a late comment, but I just watched this. It was OK, the central love triangle is interesting, but it was all a bit ruined by one scripting decision: the throwaway line where Morgan Freeman says that the earth was conquered by an army of Jacks.

    Now THAT’s a movie I’d like to see. Earth sends its brightest, boldest hero against an alien threat – only for the aliens to endlessly duplicate him and sent him right back to conquer the place! I’d have liked at least a bit of that and a bit less ‘Moon’-style moping about the place.

    Although thinking about it, one Tom Cruise is usually enough