Friday, May 22, 2015


In tone, message, and design Tomorrowland feels very much like an old school Disney live-action film albeit with far better special effects. With a hopeful message, and heart penned to its sleeve, the screenplay by Damon Lindelof and director Brad Bird offers a look at the wonders and dangerous of technology which will bring two strangers together to a place where imagination is the only limitation of what is possible.

Presented with dueling narration by Frank Walker (George Clooney, played as a child by Thomas Robinson) and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), Tomorrowland informs the audience of how each first learned of a scientific wonderland just outside our dimension before throwing the pair together to save the city and all of Earth from a mistake that continues to haunt the older scientist.

Clooney's charm helps soften Frank' rougher edges and Robertson plays well off of him. The real star, however, is Raffey Cassidy as the android who brings the pair together in an effort to put right what went wrong more than two decades before which got Frank expelled from Tomorrowland forever.

Brad Bird definitely delivers a great looking film filled with memorable action sequences, humor, and more than a tinge of regret and melancholy. The result is an engaging action-packed film that may get a bit too preachy at times but its heart is always in the right place. It's not Bird's best film as a director, in fact you could easily argue it's his weakest, but Tomorrowland does showcase what the man can do with a star like Clooney and a blockbuster-sized budget.

The film isn't without its flaws which primarily have to do with Hugh Laurie's character of Nix and the modern day version of the city that is far different from the one in the holograms Casey first encounters. Without giving too much away, the plot runs into problems once Frank and Casey finish their journey to Tomorrowland and Nix quickly devolves from an old curmudgeon to a full-on Bond-style villain gleeful enjoying the oncoming apocalypse. The visual of the pair's trip to Paris, while enjoyable, also creates an absurd amount of plot and logic holes which the story takes no steps to remedy.

In the end Brad Bird doesn't deliver the best film based off a Disneyland theme park attraction, but thankfully Tomorrowland is a far bit better than the worst. It's certainly not all I hoped it could be, but the film entertains and visually delights for the majority of its 130-minute running time offering the kind of family friendly early summer film most should enjoy.

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