Release Date: May 22, 2015
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Damon Lindelof, Brad BIrd, Jeff Jensen
Cast: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Chris Bauer, Thomas Robinson, Pierce Gagnon, Matthew MacCaull, Judy Greer, Matthew Kevin Anderson, MIchael Giacchino, D. Harlan Cutshall, Shiloh Nelson, Xantha Radley
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 130 minutes
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, A113, Babieka
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery
What would life be like if we could see tomorrow? Would you really want to know – or does the never-ending mystery motivate you to get out of bed each morning? An even more interesting question is: what would happen if all the world’s greatest minds came together in one place? How interesting would that tomorrow be? Disney promises to answer these questions, but never does, which is sad. The answers provided don’t remotely pay off, as the marketing and trailers suggest.
Tomorrowland is a story based on an idea, rather than something rich and fulfilling. It’s a bit misleading and disappointing, even without expectations being high. The cast is great and the effects are nice, but nothing we haven’t seen before. So what’s left is something forgettable, which could instead have been game-changing.
From the beginning, things feel wrong with Tomorrowland. A different take on storytelling is always welcome, but only if it works. The two main characters Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) and Frank Walker (George Clooney) start off narrating, which is quite engaging. But this later becomes a distraction, as one character keeps interrupting the other for comic relief. It simply doesn’t work, and the title of the film hasn’t even been displayed yet. It sets up a mystery adventure that you can’t wait to be part of, and then takes a turn in a different direction and doesn’t come back for a while. The pacing is all over the place.
Attention then shifts to Frank, and his character is everything I wanted it to be: a boy who is interested in making the world a better place, and has all the means to do so. Then this portion of the film is abandoned, and when revisited, it is revealed to hold no weight in relation to the rest of the film. The main problem with the film is that you’re attached to the characters and are interested in their development, but their journey is a rocky, destructive path. All we want to do is get to Tomorrowland, but it takes too long to get there.
There are a few worthy cameos that sprout up, which is always a nice surprise. Their involvement is a slight derailment, which is fun but shines light on a few plot holes. Something else that’s fun are all the gadgets, robotics and gizmos flying all over the place. They really stretch the imagination, exploring what’s possible with technology in the near future. But at times, these additions don’t help the story of the film and become a distraction, because the story is lost in the attempt to create a wow factor.
Some aspects of the film don’t make sense at all. There are false bad guys that come out of nowhere to create tension, but actually serve nobody. The benefit of the doubt is given for a possible revelation to come, but it never does and you’re left scratching your head wondering what the whole point was.
Coming back to Frank and Casey, who are interesting, it’s weird to note that where the characters end up isn’t interesting at all. This goes especially for Frank’s character. He surrounds himself in a box of heartache and pain, which is the downfall of the magical land. Yet all the geniuses in the world couldn’t figure out that his absence is the main reason for the fallout.
There are layers and layers of plot devices that don’t add up. The film repeats itself with multiple chase sequences that end up going nowhere. After the third time the protagonists are chased by bad guys for no apparent reason, you start to get sick of it.
What Tomorrowland does well is inspire greatness. Even if I didn’t enjoy majority of the film, I definitely did enjoy the ending. It makes you feel that you can accomplish anything in life, no matter how big or small. It could teach you something about life that you may not have known before. Some may consider it preachy, but it’s a necessary message, in a sense. What comes tomorrow is the result of what we do today. Tomorrowland does a great job explaining this without shoving it in your face. At moments, you’re smiling at the pure innocence of life and innovation, and it brings forth warm feelings of greatness that can’t be fabricated. It’s a wake-up call to preserve what’s beautiful – but it doesn’t follow its own advice.
Tomorrowland is a convoluted misfire that doesn’t know what story to tell or how. It has great characters that are wasted by silly ideas of wonder. This is an example of how I would like for a film to stick to the basics instead of reaching too far out. I feel lied to about what tomorrow will be. No lessons seem to be learned in the near future, which may have been the point, but no clue can be found.
The pacing has its highs and lows, like a roller-coaster ride. Some consistency would’ve been appreciated, to say the least, and would have held one’s attention. All that being said, I still enjoyed the film because it is entertaining; but it misses the mark by quite a bit. I’m interested in seeing additional footage that may have been left on the floor of the editing room. Then, maybe, I can put together the pieces that are missing in the theatrical release.