REVIEW: Even with its foibles, “Tomorrowland” is still worth visiting, with hearty messages and epic visuals.
By James A. Molnar
What are we doing here on this planet when there is something big out there to discover?
Where are the dreamers? Do we have anymore left? Maybe they’re all off imagining in Tomorrowland.
There is a slight resemblance in “Tomorrowland” to “Men in Black.” There is epic awe, wonder and adventure in that trilogy. And this Disney film, inspired by the themed land at the parks around the world, contains similar topics.
Walt Disney would be proud of a project like this, which aims to inspire and push the imagination to new heights.
The first 20 minutes of the film, directed by Brad Bird, are where it shines. Audiences are treated to scenes from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. There is even an epic ride on “it’s a small world.”
Here we find a young inventor named Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson, and later George Clooney). He submits his jet pack to the competition at the Hall of Invention at the World’s Fair, but is turned away when he admits it doesn’t quite work.
When asked why he toils on the invention, Walker replied that’s it’s just pure fun, which is the perfect way to describe these first few scenes of the film.
After that first 20 minutes though, some of that wonder is lost as we are introduced to the life of the story’s heroine Casey Newton (Britt Robertson).
Audiences are then taken on a few road trips that involve “Matrix”-like agents chasing her, meeting up with Clooney’s curmudgeonly Walker, the Eiffel Tower and a trip to Tomorrowland.
Robertson, along with Clooney, add great acting to the film. However, Raffey Cassidy steals the movie and the audience’s heart with her character Athena, a recruiter for the futuristic land.
The increasing problem with this film is that it can’t decide if it’s an adventure drama, a science-fiction epic or a preachy documentary. All of genres can be successful here but they also distract, bouncing the audience between them without focusing on one.
“Tomorrowland” has some great messages: Take action now to save the planet and give it a better future — don’t accept its fate and dream on; and one person can change the world.
One of the film’s best didactic messages is issued by the pseudo-villain, who of course has a British accent: What type of world do we live in where both obesity and starvation are epidemics?
Even with its foibles, “Tomorrowland” is still worth visiting, with hearty messages and epic visuals.
As the song wafting through the World’s Fair at the beginning of the film says, “There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow. And tomorrow's just a dream away.”
But like a great dream, sometimes the more you think about it afterwards, the more you realize how strange a journey it was.
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language.