Casey Newton (Robertson) is a genius who has a strong interest in the world around her. After posting bail for a crime, Casey finds a pin that brings her to a place of limitless potential, a new world where anything seems possible. In order to gain access to this futuristic dimension though she will have to enlist the aid of a former resident of that place named Frank (Clooney). However, Frank’s history with the utopia may prove an insurmountable obstacle, especially when hunters continue to track him and Casey.
Unfortunately this is by far Brad Bird’s weakest film, but I still had a decent time at the movies. Despite the title, you don’t spend that much time in the futuristic utopia that you saw in the commercials. Casey does venture a few times to give you a taste of the computer generated dimension, but she doesn’t really get to interact with the world the way you might expect. I felt robbed and was disappointed that we didn’t get more time with the fun technology the world held. Another flaw was what the big event was they were trying to prevent. The big reveal was a convoluted mess, that really didn’t hold much threat or evil as I had expected. Personally it was just a plot device used to preach the morals of this movie, which while good, doesn’t make for a good antagonist. Even the solution was uncomplicated, and despite all the chasing, the movie lacked the edge I wanted, (blame it on the PG ranking). Some parts were also boring and a bit too drawn out, leading to the 130 minute runtime, which was really not necessary.
The thrill is in the journey of discovering; and sure enough, what we eventually find is somehow not quite as exciting or groundbreaking as one may come to anticipate. To reveal the destination would inevitably spoil the trip itself, but suffice to say that Bird tries to make a statement about the future that pop culture seems all too happy to sell us these days and ends with a call to action. Yes, many commentators have already pointed out the film’s message on how inaction and nonchalance leads to a self- fulfilling prophecy of doom and destruction, and notwithstanding Bird’s noble intentions at using a big-budget studio movie to put across an earnest plea for imagination, hope and collective will, let us warn those who don’t like to be lectured that it does get extremely preachy right before it ends.
Britt Robertson has been acting for 15 of her 25 years and this lead role is her biggest break. I do not know if it is her acting or the way her character was written, but she did not succeed to have me rooting for her Casey. She came across as too sassy and smart-alecky for comfort. Clooney lives up to his potential, somehow managing to deliver powerful dialog despite his limited emotional spectrum. The aged hunk for the most part is either angry or emotionally moot as his character explains the ins and outs of technological history. The surprise was child actress Raffey Cassidy who fares much better in her role as Athena. Here she had good chemistry with Thomas Robinson, the actor playing the young Frank Walker, as well as with Clooney as the old Frank. It is just too bad that her character was not developed too clearly. When her climactic dramatic moment came at the end, we fail to emotionally connect with it. I do have to say that her articulation was a little bit over the top though, but still…amazing.
For a film supposed to move its audience to think bold and stay positive, ‘Tomorrowland’ comes off feeling just ‘meh’. There is excitement in finding out what it is all about, but once we do and that veil of secrecy is lifted, we are left thinking ‘so, that’s it?’ And yet for all its promise, it neither leaves you much inspired nor even enthused; instead, it leaves you wanting, wanting for more adventure, more heart, more wow, and most of all, more of Tomorrowland.
Tomorrowland gets a 7.0/10.