Posted May 21, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews

Tomorrowland Review


Tomorrowland is the latest in a short line of films this year set to test audience patience – in very Disney style balancing the adult and kid audience in the only way Disney seems to know how to – with as much product placement as it can.

Once again we have a effects heavy, star lead, science-fiction action romp that has very little regard for the consequences of its action – and all in the name of discovery and wonder.

That’s great if you are like some of our characters – a small child discovering cinema. Adults may find it a harder sell and will rely on George Clooney’s impatience and the little action there is to offer to keep them entertained next to their kids.

Right off the bat the film has a stop/start narrative that is played for laughs which might immediately irate older members of the audience. But when it does get going we discover that back in the 1960s boy genius frank (later to be played by Clooney in the present day version) attends the world’s fair in New York. With him is his latest invention. A rocket pack. It doesn’t quite fully work yet, b ut by 1960’s standards this kid is ready for NASA.

After encountering a mysterious girl, Frank is granted access to what appears to be another world – in the future. Tomorrow land. Riffing off the sketches and model designs of THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, the film literally brings this cityscape to life. But before we can find out what happened with Frank, we cut to the future and are introduced to rebel teenager Casey (a decent but forgettable Britt Robertson) who is also adept with a circuit board. She too is granted access to this wonder and after a short visit to tomorrow land where she walks around it amazed in what we can only draw parallels with when an Amish person visits the city. She sets out to find out more. And so begins a very, very long screen journey set in the normal would with the occasional encounter with killer humanoid robots. The two team up and away they go.

Despite the setting up of these early scenes of wonder – Tomorrowland actually spends every little time there, instead it acts as a road movie for people to argue and complain  and ask countless questions that are finally all addressed in the climax of the film.

The problem with this is that is seems like the script has simply been biding its screen-time with its characters instead of getting to the heart of the issue which turns out to be less of an mystery than one might think.

Hugh Laurie is lazily dropped in as an antagonist, 12A violence is employed with robotic henchman being the excuse to rip off limbs and heads, and human characters disappearing in puffs of smoke when they are eliminated.

Director Brad Bird and Writer Damon Lindelof may be big dreamers, but this one simply runs out of ideas and steam before it gets to its paltry end.But it does have to be said that, very much like Fury Road this month – the film is not afraid to surprise audiences by slamming a vehicle at high speed into the character you’d least expect to get hit by it.

Tomorrowland also features so of the most trite dialogue heard in a big blockbuster in some time. We don’t have strong hopes for what Jurassic World has to offer, but it will take some doing to beat out the A-B-C stepping stone conversations here and the truly horrendous wolf analogy that the film rests heavily on.

As to the product placement – there is a scene in a toy store that has perhaps one too many Disney related toys in it. To the point that it might make you sick of Star Wars long before the new film has even come out.

Brad Bird enthusiasts are likely to appreciate the level organisation he has controlled in order to muster the world, but it is ultimately a lesser work as a whole for him. Tomorrowland will also just add fuel to the fire for people that already don’t have any faith in Damon Lindelof as a writer. The film certainly won’t garner him many new fans. We suspect the line that Clooney lands on his his companion aksing her not to question everything and to just be amazed is a direct commentary on Lindelof’s critics.  Sadly though the retort is likely to be a loud resounding NO. If scripts didn’t take logical account for themselves to a heavy degree then everyone would be screening writing without explanation.

Tomorrowland then is one better served for the kids. It’s perhaps a 4 star experience at best for the most optimistic child, but easily as low as a 2 for adults expecting more.

3 Stars





Steven Hurst