Yes, I wrote casting three times. That's because to me this is the weakest part of this film....and actually it has nothing to do with Tom Cruise. Well...maybe something, but he's not exactly my problem with this movie. Truth be told, I'm pretty ambivalent to Cruise at this point...not a lover or a hater. So let's just say we're trying to keep Cruise intact and cast the characters around him to improve the story (still...if we had a completely clean slate even more possibilities would be opened up as well.) Obviously Morgan Freeman can stay, and possibly Melissa Leo....but everyone else needs to go. The two main females are all wrong for their roles and completely lack an absolutely necessary chemistry with Cruise. While Olga Kurylenko is strikingly beautiful, that's all she really has to offer in such a pivotal role. When it's revealed that she is [SPOILER highlight to read] Tom' Cruise's wife and we're supposed to buy this deep love between the two...well it just comes off as hollow. Had an older actress that he DID have chemistry with been cast, we really would have rooted for them and the story would have gained more power [/SPOILER]
But Andrea Riseborough who plays Victoria is even worse. How did she get this role?? She was so completely bland I just couldn't understand how such an important role like this didn't go to a beautiful A-list actress in her 30's or 40's who would be more age appropriate for Cruise as a love interest and possibly have better chemistry. Possible contenders: Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz, Kate Beckinsale...heck even Angelina Jolie who I hate would have been better. It's hard to care about either of the female leads, but the members of the rebellion are just as bad. We have Morgan Freeman's right-hand man who is as vanilla as they come, but we're supposed to believe he's the epitome of awesome, yet somehow lacks a personality? Nah. For that, I would have cast some wisecracking cool actor like Josh Holloway from Lost.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN - At the end of the day, there won't be too much that will distinguish Oblivion from any other run of the mill sci-fi. It's kind of a heavily borrowed movie. I obviously don't have the mind of a talented sci-fi writer to offer up specific suggestions, but if something had been done to set it apart it would have been far more memorable. apart from the rest, it would go down as an absolute classic, rather than a nice entertaining film likely to be forgotten. The best thing it had going for it was its imagery of a truly deserted earth...but even later this year we have After Earth attempting to challenge the setting of an uninhabitable earth. But [SPOILER highlight to read] evil [/SPOILER] robots, cool spaceships, and [SPOILER highlight to read] clones [/SPOILER] Not much new with that. Oblivion played it safe and didn't take any risks. There was no uniqueness really to be found in its cold exterior, which is why it won't become a classic of the genre.
Really though, the film did have a lot going for it and I hope I'm not coming off as overly harsh because I did at its core enjoy it...I just hoped it would have been one of the greats...instead of one of the goods.