Like its predecessors, this one has the requisite promotional puffery, but also shows off some legitimately cool footage from the set and showcases a surprising lack of green screen and preference for in-camera imagery by director Joseph Kosinski.
Kosinski made his feature directorial debut three years ago with Tron: Legacy, a picture that extensively utilized green screen and involved many an elaborate sequence created purely digitally. Though he's once again creating an effects-heavy sci-fi tableau with Oblivion, Kosinski appears to have kept the production quite physical. Previous featurettes have shown the construction of a full-scale bubbleship, the beautiful front-projection vista on what one would expect to be a green screen set, and filming in the natural splendor of Iceland.
This latest peek behind the scenes chronicles filming one specific Icelandic location: Earl's Peak, a mountainous setting accessible to the crew only by helicopter. Kosinski says of shooting on the peak, "It was one of those experiences that you dream about as a director, about going to places that most people have never seen and getting to capture it all in-camera."
In order to capture Kosinski's desired shots, the production hauled fifty people and a whole mess of equipment, including giant camera cranes, up the mountain, where eventually Tom Cruise sat on a cliff's edge two-thousand feet up, secured by a safety line. Cruise has dangled off many a high object in his career, so he's understandably nonplussed by the act.
Cruise stars here as Jack Harper, one of the few humans on the surface of Earth decades after a brutal war with alien invaders. Though humanity eventually won the war, the planet was left uninhabitable and our species retreated to orbit. Working with an assistant, Harper's job is basic maintenance, repairing surface drones that scour Earth for remaining aliens.
When he suddenly and inexplicably encounters a beautiful woman with knowledge of his past and a mysterious stranger with all the answers, Harper's world is turned upside down and he's forced to fight against everything he used to know.
In addition to Cruise, the cast consists of Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Zoe Bell.