By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
Disney, director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol), George Clooney (Burn After Reading, The Ides of March, Gravity), and science fiction? Sign me up! That’s pretty much what to expect when going into Disney’s latest sci-fi adventure, Tomorrowland, based on the Disneyland attraction of the same name.
Besides adapting their animated classics into live action films, it seems like another Disney tradition is making films based on their Disney Parks attractions, with films like The Country Bears, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and The Haunted Mansion, they seem less as movies and more like a full commercial for the Disney Parks rides in disguise as a feature film, except for Pirates that is, Country Bears and Haunted Mansion were despised by critics and audiences and both flopped at the box office when they came out.
And here’s another one, Tomorrowland, and while it’s not terrible like The Country Bears or The Haunted Mansion, it’s not as engaging as Pirates of the Caribbean, but for what they did with the special effects and concepts of the future, they’re done well.
Teenage girl, Casey Newton (Britt Robertson-Dan in Real Life, Scream 4, The Longest Ride) obtains a mysterious pin when she was claiming her belongings from jail after she made bail from breaking into a space station. Whenever she touches the pin a vision of a magical world appears where anything is possible, unfortunately her father doesn’t believe her because only she can touch the pin and see the visions.
So Casey embarks on a journey to discover the secret of the pin, along the way she meets Athena (Raffey Cassidy-Mr. Selfridge, Dark Shadows, Snow White & the Huntsman), a little girl who is apparently a robot from the future and claims she gave Casey the pin to save the future, and she also meets Frank (Clooney), a middle aged man who has been living alone in an old house away from society who visited Tomorrowland when he was a young boy at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The adventure to Tomorrowland begins as our three heroes battle robots out to annihilate them, giant robots, and a mission to save the future of Earth from global disasters.
Overall, Tomorrowland is a decent adventure film for kids and tweens, however there’s not a whole lot for older audiences, except for maybe the special effects and George Clooney. The beginning of the film drags on and is pretty dull and not very interesting, it’s not until the pin shows up when the film gets interesting.
Once the pin shows up, the sci-fi adventure we were promised in the trailers and commercials starts to unfold, the teen, little girl, and Clooney begin their journey to the Eiffel Tower where a rocket is waiting for them to go to Tomorrowland. However once they make it to Tomorrowland, there’s not as much screen time for the world as you would expect, which is my biggest problem with the movie, too much buildup, not enough Tomorrowland.
But thankfully there’s enough visuals and exciting action to entertain, also to the film’s credit, a lot of the inventions George Clooney’s character made in his home are very creative and honestly it kind of upstages the futuristic world we were still counting down to.
If you love sci-fi or just want something fun to take the kids to, chances are you’ll have fun at Tomorrowland, but if you want a more engaging sci-fi flick, I’d say go back to Gravity or Interstellar.