Review: Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland promises the idea of a movie filled with wonder, innovation, brilliance and optimism for a bright future, but when Academy Award winner George Clooney, Britt Robertson and Raffey Cassidy finally arrive to Tomorrowland in the movie, Tomorrowland is revealed for what it really is: hollow, run-down, desolate and empty.

The new film from Brad Bird and writer Damon Lindelof is the story about two intelligent figures on opposite sides of a spectrum; Clooney is the jaded and cynical Frank Walker and Robertson is the naive and bright-eyed optimist Casey Newton. Both characters have different ideas of what the future holds in a movie that plays with the idea of “the world of tomorrow” from the 1960s and presumably Walt Disney’s imagination and philosophy.

Image by Disney

Newton is in awe of what the idea of Tomorrowland possesses: the means to heal the world’s ills while Walker knows first hand what Tomorrowland is capable of: builds your hopes up then let’s you down in the most cruel way possible (courtesy of childhood heartbreak).

I want to try and be nice regarding Tomorrowland but I can’t. I found the film tedious, loaded with bloated Walt Disney optimism and shallow no matter how many bells and whistles it tries to dazzle audiences with.

The overall problem with Tomorrowland may lie with the overall editing and how the film visually allowed itself to tell its story. The use of flashback to when Frank was a child, played by Thomas Robinson, is erratic though it serves a purpose, the magic “pin” that is given to Casey to take her to the “magical place” from the colorless world that is reality is pretty and it reminds of The Wizard of Oz, but the story telling style never really settles. There is no magic and visual appeal to this film.

I may not have seen all of Brad Bird’s work as a director but he certainly looked qualified to direct this movie. The problem is that Bird’s talent as a director is just lost in this movie filled with geniuses, ideal futuristic societies, other dimensions, and killer robots. The imagination is there but the problem is that the imagination is stretched and I mean stretch.

Seriously, the idea of the Eiffel Tower as a launch site for a rocket to go to Tomorrowland‘s dimension was done with a lot of imagination and wretched execution. I think that is when Tomorrowland “jumped the shark” as they say.

The acting is meh. Tomorrowland is designed to carry itself on George Clooney’s star-power but he just phones this in and that is a tragic disappointment considering his talent. He is an A-list actor, writer, director and producer but why is he doing this movie? Boredom? Needed a paycheck? He lowered himself with this movie. Shameful.

Britt Robertson was annoying to watch to be honest. The film needed a balance to Clooney’s jaded character and this doughy-eyed, hopeful, blonde girl who thinks the world’s problems can be fixed simply soured the movie; I can relate to her, I believe that humanity can undo the problems of the world but I couldn’t wait to see her get a serious dose of reality and when she did, it was fleeting.

Raffey Cassidy gave a robotic performance-look I made a pun-as Athena. She was probably the film’s cool factor, she was given a lot of butt-kicking scenes but there was nothing really cool about her character. In fact, when she reveals herself as a robot, the shock-value is minimal at best.

Image by By Kristin Dos Santos (Hugh Laurie), via Wikimedia Commons

I think the only saving grace of Tomorrowland was Hugh Laurie. I loved Hugh Laurie play the title character in the Fox drama House and he brought that charisma to the villain role of David Nix.

Claudio Miranda’s cinematography, Michael Giacchino’s music, Scott Chambliss’ production design, Ramsey Avery’s art direction team all contributed to the visual appeal of this movie but it was all average in my opinion. The editing of Walter Murch and Craig Wood are probably at fault for this movie’s undoing.

I wish I could say that I was disappointed in this movie but I cannot because I went into this movie with a low-ceiling, no expectations whatsoever. It’s just, it’s not everyday that I went into a movie such as that and still came away with nothing.

Tomorrowland has bells and whistles, promises and looks at the world with hope but those bells and whistles have a low-resonance, those promises are empty and it is easy to look at something at hope and offer little to no solution. I won’t go as far as say this is the worst movie I’ve seen this year, but there is no excuse for a movie with a total lack of execution.

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