Tomorrowland – 3 out of 5
This was one of those films that I was pretty excited to watch when I saw the trailer. Not only was it co-written by Brad Bird—the man who gave us The Iron Giant and The Incredibles—but it had George Clooney and it had that throwback sci-fi feel that gave off an impression of wonderment and fun. I had planned to see it in the theater but life always seems to get in the way—and by “life,” I mean finding that extra cash needed to go to the theater. Well, it never happened where I was able to get to the cinema but once it arrived on home media, I jumped at the opportunity to watch this one…and I was less than impressed.
|You don't even have to hear anything and that "It's A Small World After All" song is|
already stuck in your head.
Casey (Britt Robertson) is a brilliant but troublesome girl who is doing all she can to help her father keep his engineering job with NASA but, after getting arrested, she finds a mysterious pin end up in her belongings. When she touches the pin, she is transported to a fantastical world of science and wonder beyond all imagination. When she investigates the source of this piece of flair, she is attacked by human-looking robots and is rescued by a child calling herself Athena (Raffey Cassidy). Athena tells her that the world she saw is a utopia but she is needed to help save the world. She takes Casey to meet with a man named Frank Walker (George Clooney); an individual who was banished from the utopia and together, they make it to this new dimension called Tomorrowland and learn from an official named Nix (Hugh Laurie) that Casey’s world is doomed. However, Frank hypothesizes that Casey has what it takes to save the world and change everything that Tomorrowland has become.
|Check it out, Gondor is off in the distance!|
|Ah crap, that powerful creepy kid from Looper is in|
From a concept perspective, Tomorrowland is a decent film that has some great performances from the cast, some absolutely incredible special effects and some really surprisingly entertaining action sequences. The feature is also beautifully optimistic with its themes of protecting the environment and preaching the importance of education and curiosity. Finally, Brad Bird does a tremendous job of mixing dynamic camera work and clever editing to make the story really flow. Tomorrowland is never really boring and is serviceable as an entertaining movie but the film gets incredibly sloppy with its story and plot.
|Put your hands down. None of the movie's problems are your fault.|
|He's just here to say it's not Lupus.|
One thing I should have realized going into the film was the fact it was co-written by the man who is partially responsible for Lost (as well as being partially responsible for the dive the series took after its epic first season); Damon Lindelof. I won’t go as far as to say that Lindelof’s writing is terrible because he does craft some interesting ideas but he does clearly have problems with the development of those ideas. Too often his writing goes too vague and feels way underdeveloped to the point that too many plot points and story elements go unexplained and results in strange character decisions or turns in the story that never feel natural or organic. While I don’t know if the problems with this film are his fault, the issues with the film’s conflict being way too vague to feel threatening, the lack of an adequate or even apparent antagonist and the sloppy way things get explained, take too long to be explained or go completely unexplained are complaints that are seen way too often in his work and it feels like way too big of a coincidence to not have the responsibility of the messy story fall on his shoulders. Like other projects he’s been on, many of these issues might have been caused because of editing for time but, as it is, the film already feels like it is taking way too long to really get going and I’d hate to see the length of the cut where everything is explained perfectly well and contains a story that makes sense.
|Story problems aside, the action did really kick ass in this one.|
This is really the killing blow to Tomorrowland but it also suffers from some more minor problems. For example, the film is way too preoccupied with trying to sound futuristic and include sci-fi elements like alternate dimensions and playing with time than worrying about the human element. The emphasis of style over substance ends up making the emotional scenes feel empty and vacuous and really made for characters that felt flat and one-dimensional.
|*Gasp* It's like Clooney is looking right at me. Quick, do I have something on my face?|
Overall, Tomorrowland is a watchable and half-way fun feature that has a great cast, cool special effects and a nice throwback look that is mixed with hints of Steampunk and a dash of Cyberpunk but the film is weighed down by a story that feels uneven and meandering. Too many elements that need more depth are never developed upon and the parts that need less expansion are expanding upon like there is no tomorrow(land). I really wanted to see this film and was very excited for it but I won’t go as far as to call it a disappointment. Heck, the film has George Clooney in it and that man is so talented that he already makes it worth it (I could watch a film that was just him folding laundry and think it was the coolest and most well-acted thing I’ve ever seen) and there was no denying the ambition this film clearly held but, in the end, the film just fell vastly short of the potential it had.
|Also, I'm not entirely sure why Robbie Rotten suddenly showed up in it.|