By Connor Frankenberger (British Columbia, Canada)
Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson, is the latest release by the titan of the movieverse, Disney. While based on a theme park ride, I still count this as an original idea, being one of those rare times when we see a screenplay not based as a sequel/prequel/reboot receive a huge budget and get the opportunity to stand on its own. For the most part, it was a worthy investment.
The director of Tomorrowland, Brad Bird, is currently on an enviable streak with smash hit after hit like Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and Mission Impossible 4. His latest outing demonstrates his command behind the camera again, taking (an honestly) unremarkable script and stretching it far past its potential using visual finesse to keep the plot moving at a bracingly energetic pace.
I think a better title for this movie would have been something resembling “Journey to Tomorrowland”, because very little time is actually spent in Tomorrowland. Maybe it just made more sense for the script, or maybe they realised their CGI budget would have been catastrophically high, either way it’s a tad misleading. When we are in Tomorrowland however, it’s everything we could have hoped for creatively. My guess is whoever designed this place must be somewhere between a lego master builder, or one of the greatest minecraft players of all time, because this place is monumental, and littered with little brilliant inventions; my favourite being the multi-level swimming pool. It’s the small things like these I can appreciate that show the people involved really do care about every tiny aspect of the filmgoer experience.
I suppose the key problem with the film would have to be, well, Disney. It was very obvious at times where the narrative direction and certain plot points were constricted by the Disney-esque formula most of their movies adhere to. This was most apparent in the final act because of the way the movie felt rushed into resolving its conflict neatly and quickly, making for an ending which felt a bit too clean. We’re also subjected to a fairly preachy expositionfest, with a theme that was WAY too on the nose. Some subtlety wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing
Finally, we also get to witness two star making performances. While Clooney is predictably solid, he’s often outshone by his younger co-stars. One being Britt Robertson, who should see many more lead roles come her way in the future. The other, being the very young Raffey Cassidy, who plays a character that would sound extremely irritating on paper, but is played with a dominant presence well beyond the actress’s years.
FINAL VERDICT: While it hits a few too many familiar points and beats you over the head with its moral, Tomorrowland is still a very well directed adventure whose mystery is a pleasure to