Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.
“Tomorrowland” is a visually stunning masterpiece. Director Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”) doesn’t just tap into our senses, he literally blasts his way in, much like the jet-pack propulsion system one of the film’s characters creates but he is discerning, by virtue of the fact that he doesn’t start out with a futuristic world, filled with eye-popping special effects, rather, he builds up to it, gradually. When we are first introduced to this magnificent universe, we are in awe, much like Frank (Thomas Robinson), who is experiencing it for the very first time, along with us. We then get fleeting glimpses of this beautiful wonderland and cannot wait to return to its majestic yet grandiose embodiment. As the film begins, young Frank is attending the World Fair in New York in the 1960s. Wanting to be recognized for his creation, a jet-pack that will allow him to fly wherever he wants, he approaches the table of Nix (Hugh Laurie), a judge who is initially intrigued by Frank but after the jet-pack proves incapable of actually flying, he is quickly dismissed.
While Nix is snobbish towards the young boy, Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a young girl who works alongside him, senses something inside of Frank and follows him. She gives him a small pin with a large T imprinted on the front and informs him to follow her and Nix onto one of the rides but to keep his distance and stay out of sight. After managing to get onto the water ride, Frank’s boat enters the dark tunnel ahead and while looking around, a concealed laser reads the pin Athena gave him and his boat drops into a hidden underpass, where he is quickly whisked off to Tomorrowland, a place where anything is possible and all that is required of you, is your imagination and the determination to make earth a better place. Frank is taken aback as he marvels at his new surroundings and while not paying attention, a large robot approaches him and takes his jet-pack, whereby it quickly fixes it for him so that he can fly around his new environment but before we have a chance to see anything else, we cut to the present where we are introduced to Casey (Britt Robertson), a teenage girl with a love of astronomy.
Every evening, she sneaks onto the now abandoned shuttle launch pad, a place she once went to watch the shuttle blast off into space but now it will soon be disassembled and sold off as scrap. At night, she hotwires the cranes so that they malfunction, thereby, giving the launch pad additional longevity but one night, after having been caught and arrested, she is bailed out of jail by her father but as she is picking up her belongings, she notices a pin, exactly like the one Athena gave Frank at the beginning of the movie and every time she touches it, she is immediately transported to Tomorrowland, with no idea of where it is but inquisitive and determined to find out. With a little help from Athena, she meets a now adult Frank (George Clooney), who has become embittered and despondent but when she shows him her pin, they are quickly surrounded by bad guys. Thankfully though, Frank has been preparing for such a scenario and both he and Casey manage to escape but very reluctantly, he informs them that they must make their way back to Tomorrowland.
Apparently, a machine he created there many years ago for the good of mankind, is now being used for bad, unbeknownst to everyone, against all of humanity and as a result, the end of the world is just days away. With very little time on their hands, Frank, Casey and Athena must return to the once wondrous Tomorrowland, now a baron wasteland, so that the rest of the world will have a fighting chance for a future. Visually, “Tomorrowland” is immaculate. From the tiniest visual effect of a magical pin to the largest, mind-blowing creation of a man-made spaceship, technically, you will find no fault with the movie. It is pristine and not likely to be surpassed any time soon. Normally, in a sci-fi movie this big, the special effects tend to take over and the actors become expendable but director Brad Bird gives each character the necessary motivation that will carry them throughout the entire movie and each of them performed wonderfully. However, the one minor grievance I had, was with the bad guys and their analysis and evaluation as to why they want to end the world.
The old “Mankind created war and famine and will be their own demise and are not worthy of this planet” speech which results, ultimately, in sealing humanity’s fate, is so clichéd in movies these days, and has been for years, that I had hoped from something a little stronger from Disney but in terms of this story, it serves its purpose and thankfully the movie doesn’t dwell on it too long. “Tomorrowland” is a movie for those who dare to dream and who will not be deterred by anyone or anything and at the end of the day, you cannot fault a dreamer.
In theaters May 22nd
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