Disney’s futuristic family film Tomorrowland hits theaters today but, while visually stunning, the movie’s plot may leave viewers waiting for more of an explanation.
The film tells the story of a fantastic world, created by the greatest minds in humanity, that is in danger of being destroyed forever, along our own world – unless a jaded genius (George Clooney) and an extremely bright, upbeat young dreamer (Britt Robertson) work together to figure out how to stop it. It’s a fun family ride that kids are sure to enjoy, but when you peel back the layers and look at the plot, it leaves a lot more to be desired.
Tomorrowland is a genuinely beautiful movie to watch. As our Editor-in-Chief Emma Loggins pointed out during the film, it’s a wonder it wasn’t shot in 3-D. The graphics were great and the technologies brought to life in the pristine futuristic world, including robots that look like humans, flying cars and multi-level infinity pools, present a fresh take on things you’d expect to see in a sci-fi film, while mixing in original inventions you wouldn’t. The overall message, encouraging the dreamers in the world to continue dreaming, was inspiring and the cast was solid, each one of them giving heartfelt performances. It basically has all the ingredients for a Disney classic, yet with all of these things working for Tomorrowland, the plot itself worked against it, presenting a few issues that were hard to ignore.
Clooney’s character seemed to have an incomplete plot, for starters. Perhaps spending more time with him as a child in Tomorrowland would have helped (although we did see some points via flashback), but I didn’t really didn’t understand why he was such a grumpy hermit. I’m sure being kicked out of a futuristic world would bum anyone out, but the movie didn’t do a great job of emotionally connecting the audience to Frank’s plight.
Another weakness is that audiences won’t walk away with a full understanding of what caused Tomorrowland to go from fab to drab and need saving in the first place, which is a pretty significant point of the movie. I think that it’s somehow wrapped up in the whole end of the world plot that was also going on, but I can’t give you anymore specifics than that unfortunately. Multiple problems were presented, and unfortunately they each got minimal time to be fleshed out, leaving parts of the film feeling incomplete.
George Clooney did a solid job portraying the bitter boy-genius-turned-man-hermit who was banned from Tomorrowland for inventing “something he shouldn’t have.” Britt Robertson drastically diverged from her The Longest Ride character and slid comfortably into the persona of Casey Newton (who I was waiting to be revealed as some sort of distant relation to Issac Newton, but no). Hugh Laurie gave an entertaining performance as the film’s resident bad guy with an accent in cool futuristic clothing. He’s just fun to watch as butthole, no matter what accent he carries. Youngster Raffey Cassidy is an actress to keep your eye on. Her performance as Athena was beyond her age and she carried it well, without making it cheesy (and somehow her relationship with George’s character didn’t come off as skeevy, which it easily could have, an accomplishment I credit both actors with).
Tomorrowland makes for a decent family film, but if you’re looking to be wowed by anything other than what you see, there’s a good chance you’ll walk away disappointed. Inspired!… but disappointed.
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