Carousel of Progress – Tomorrowland (2015)

It’s for the kids.  Based on the Disney World attraction, this is about a teen who stumbles upon a pin that grants her access to an alternate dimension (Britt Robertson).  She teams up with a former boy genius (George Clooney) to save our world and make sure we still have a future.  I was initially highly excited about this for a couple of reasons.  1. This is Disney.  You can say what you want about them as a brand, but the bottom line is that they’ve continually put out good to great movies for years now, and with the purchase of Marvel, they’ve hit a consistent baseline.  2. This is Brad Bird.  He is a director that has not only never made a bad movie, but has consistently pumped out masterpieces.  The Iron Giant is emotionally charged and genius, The Incredibles and Ratatouille are excellent additions to the Pixar library, and even his step into live action with Mission Impossible IV was a great success.  There was no reason to not be excited… but with Tomorrowland, Bird has made his first movie that is merely okay.

1

And nobody is sadder about that than me.  This looked so good on paper.

The biggest determent to Tomorrowland is that it’s underwritten and made almost exclusively for very small children.  I know George Clooney is headlining this, but he is barely in the film until you hit the halfway point.  It is really this girl (Britt Robertson) and her humanoid robot companion (Raffey Cassidy) that are featured front and center.  They are really the avatar for the audience, not Clooney, and as a result, you’re only going to stand a real chance of connecting with it if you are between the ages of 8 and 12.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy science fiction for the younger demographic exists, and I am all about there being more genre films for children.  The only thing this is that I wish that this featured was something more for adults than a handful of Disney references and advertisements.

TOMORROWLAND

Although having one of these pins would probably be pretty cool.  Behold, the power of suggestion!

This isn’t a complete failure; it is a good looking movie, and the special effects are fluent.  It does consistently underwhelm, and the narrative doesn’t do anybody any favors.  It’s ultimately more disappointing than anything, really, because with a property like this, they had so much freedom to do whatever they wanted without restrictions, and this was the best that they could come up with.  The script is all over the place, and another mark against it is that it has this message about the environment, which is fine, but it doesn’t really offer any solutions while still having a very happy ending.  When you stop and actually think about it, they really didn’t change much of anything at the end, which is kind of… lackluster.  It may be a great, big, beautiful tomorrow, but they should have spent more time in the writing department.

Tomorrowland (2015) ***

– Critic for Hire

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