I am doing this review a little late… Tomorrowland released a while ago, I just haven’t had a time to do a post on it. I was really excited for this film as it seemed unique, colorful and adventurous. And, for the most part, it was. It was a fun and ambitious film but it was not without its flaws.
The story begins at the 1964 New York’s World fair where a young Frank Walker is attempting to win an inventor’s competition with a jet pack he has invented. He meets a girl names Athena and a judge named David Nix who is unimpressed by his failed invention( as the jet pack hasn’t had a successful flight). He is dismissed by the young girl, Athena, who works with Nix is impressed and leaves him a pin with a ‘T’ on it. This pin essentially takes him to Tomorrowland– a place where the world’s brightest minds can work for a better future unencumbered by politics, money and more. The idea is that geniuses working together away from earth can accomplish more than they could on it.
We then time skip forward many years where we meet Casey(Britt Robertson), a young presumably smart, girl who is sneaking into a NASA launchpad to destroy demolition machinery. This is in hopes that she can stall her fathers impending layoff as NASA is planning on destroying his place of work. While she is busy getting caught, a mysterious person slips her a pin. She only discovers this pin when the offer at the jail giver her back her things. When she touches said pin she is seemingly transported to another world, a cornfield with a beautiful Emerald-City-style city off in the distance.
She attempted to find our more about the pin– but ends up being attacked by evil androids and is saves by the same little girl who gave a young the pin in the beginning (Athena). She guides her to Frank and leaves her when they arrive. Frank appears to be a recluse, not letting Casey in until she forces her way in. When inside his house she finds a countdown– to the end of the world. They get attacked by more androids but are able to escape and decide to try to get back to Tomorrowland, a beautiful and futuristic place where not everything is as it seems.
Let me start by saying that I love the concept of the film. It reminds me when I look at footage from old World Fairs.. they play on the idea that anything is possible and for brief moments in the film, everything is. The film is centered around the idea of hope, even when everything is bleak, there is always still hope, always something that can be done. And, only when we abandon hope are things truly lost.
The film missteps when it tries to convince the audience to take things on blind faith while simultaneously pummeling both one particular idea in your head while also building up towards a grand reveal and finish. It doesn’t deliver on the finish or reveal, making you get annoyed at the film for pummeling you over the head with certain ideas only to let you down.
The big reveal? Frank created a supercomputer that could see the future during his time in Tomorrowland. The machine showed a future that…well… didn’t exist for earth. Meaning that the earth would be destroyed after Frank’s countdown reaches zero. They don’t know how or why, but after the countdown reaches zero– the machine sees nothing.
Nix, the person essentially running Tomorrowland had a plan… that plan was to feed media to the world of disasters and chaos in hopes to warn them is whatever future they were headed toward– to prompt them into changing. The problem is that the people of earth unconsciously accepted this fate, accepted the chaos around them, which only made the chaos more frequent and harsh. After a long time, Nix had become jaded and decided to abandon the world because they deserve their fate.
Only Casey represents hope, the hope and the intelligence to change the outcome. It turns out that the machine doesn’t tell the future, it creates it. The machine was a negative force that feeds on the negativity of others– in essence it was sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
It’s a sort of lackluster reveal and even though they point out that Casey is more intelligent that even Frank (a genius in his own right), she doesn’t really do anything extremely smart… she is stubborn sure, which allows the plot to move forward, but genius she is not.
The movie as a whole was enjoyable, I just wish they would have played the genius angle or spent more time in the futuristic Tomorrowland. I think they spend a whopping 10-15 minutes there? But when they are there– its awesome and you want more. The world Disney built for this film was awesome, I think they focused too much on an unrealized plot rather than taking the time out to enjoy said world.
Plot (out of 20 points)
The initial plot is solid, the world is in peril and the only hope is for two geniuses to make it to the futuristic world of Tomorrowland while evading androids. Tomorrowland was an awesome place even when it is basically abandon it is impressive. Frank’s story could have made an amazing movie in-and-of-itself also! Where it fails is that it builds up to a lackluster ending– it fails to finish strong! (12/20)
Characters (out of 20 points)
This is tough…. on one hand I loved George Clooney’s character and wanted to see more of him, I sort of wish he was the main character of the film? However, I don’t dislike Casey– I just wish she seemed more like a genius and less like a dumb teen that needs everything explained to her before she takes action. Athena was great too, she was a great compliment to the other two characters and I loved seeing her and Frank’s pseudo-love story being fleshed out during the film. Hell I even liked Nix’s character… he was sympathetic and even though he wished for the destruction of earth, he certainly wasn’t evil… he seemed more like a father that has been trying to teach his children to good only to have them do wrong over and over and over again… he was tired. (20/20)
Acting (out of 20 points)
The acting was solid from everyone in this film, any flaws I see in performance could easily be attributed to the writing and direction. I wanted Frank and Casey to succeed, I wanted to see more of the film, every character in the film could have had their own solo films and it would have been fine. (20/20)
Storytelling (out of 30 points)
How they chose to tell the story was a bit disappointing and, in all honesty, they build up to a lackluster ending. I didn’t dislike any of the characters but this might have been better off as a two-part movie? A Frank Walker film followed by a Casey film. I think it would allow us to be more familiarized with the characters, see more of Tomorrowland, see its downfall and build to a stronger ending. (10/30)
Ad-Campaign (out of 10)
The ad-campaign was a bit weak also… it took them forever to give a substantial trailer that showed anything and it didn’t make the film all the exciting… I remember actually looking up more information on this film because Disney wasn’t giving enough information! (5/10)