Joseph Kosinski’s new futuristic sci-fi, Oblivion, was on our list of most-anticipated movies for this year, and with good reason. The film has a solid cast lined up, with Tom Cruise in the lead as drone repairman Jack, Andrea Riseborough as his colleague, Victoria, Morgan Freeman as the leader of an underground core of surviving humans who aren’t supposed to be on the planet, and Olga Kurylenko as Julia, a young woman with a mysterious connection to Jack’s past.

The film is based on Kosinski’s graphic novel of the same name, though since the novel hasn’t been published yet (and possibly never will be), we can’t look there for hints about the story or any potential revelations. The trailers that have been released so far show Cruise’s character wandering an Earth that has been ravaged by an extraterrestrial war and almost completely evacuated of human life. With the release imminent, Universal has given us an insight into some of the work that went into creating this vision of the planet.

First of all, here are four new featurettes, which cover slightly different ground than the two that we’ve already seen. “A Look Inside” shows that the aliens who attacked Earth have been able to remain behind, despite the fact that they lost the war, and that with each repair and check-up Jack finds himself vulnerable to attack from them. The featurette doesn’t give us a clear look at “the enemy”, which appear to be black-suited and masked creatures that crawl along the ground, marked by the lit-up yellow lenses in the centre of their masks.

The featurette also gives a clearer outline of the plot, and hints at what the film’s “twist” might be.

One of the most impressive aspects of the movie, as presented in these featurettes, is that the reliance upon CGI elements and environments has been kept to a minimum, and there’s been plenty of good old-fashioned set- and prop-building going on to give Oblivion a grounded feel against the naturalistic backdrop of Iceland. Interestingly, Kosinski also describes his vision of Earth as feeling almost prehistoric, so that Oblivion creates an impression of simultaneously stepping both back and forward in time.

The “daytime” look of the film was extended to the interior shots through Kosinski’s decision to front-project footage shot from the top of a volcano (above cloud level) onto an enormous screen surrounding the Sky Tower set. This meant that instead of trying to hide away the cool temperature of light reflected off a blue screen, the actors were immersed in, and lit by, an environment that matched the high-rise setting of their home base.

Finally, check out these new images that show the making of Oblivion, along with stills from the film itself:

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The new images don’t reveal too much about the plot of Oblivion that we didn’t already know, but it’s quite cool to see Morgan Freeman sporting what looks like a hooded cape in his role as Beech, leader of the underground society of human survivors. It also seems like Jack’s Bubbleship – the construction of which can be seen in the third featurette – will feature a lot in the film as part of the characters’ travels across the planet. There’s no denying that it’s an elegantly designed piece of machinery, and it will be fascinating to watch Cruise and Kurylenko spinning and diving in it on the big screen.

Of course, the best visuals in the world aren’t worth much unless they’re built upon the framework of a decent script, so we’ll have to wait until Oblivion‘s theatrical release to see if the story lives up to the impressive filmmaking techniques that have been used.

Oblivion is out in theaters on April 19, 2013.

Source: Universal Pictures