Written by / 5/23/2015 / 1 Comment / , , , ,

WEEKEND REVIEW OF TOMORROWLAND

year: 2015
Veiled in sparse, mysterious promotion, TOMORROWLAND is, well, kind of based on the section of Disneyland providing a retro-reversed future, viewed through the awe-inspired eyes of the 1950’s when true Science Fiction reigned and dreams were storybook creative and Utopian deluxe.

Starting out as a ROCKETEER meets CONTACT, we have two young heroes – first a brilliant boy who will grow into George Clooney; and then a determined girl who receives a magical pin to enter the titular location that includes a monorail (sans the rail) and other futuristic CG visuals, as if George Lucas created a live-action JETSONS... But Steven Spielberg seems the nostalgic influence of director Brad Bird. Unfortunately, as we’re detoured into a clunky road picture involving intrepid kids and banal villains, it's more of a limp GOONIES than a Millennial CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.

The lead character, Casey Newton, has a “special” gift, especially heightened when she receives that device, allowing her to glimpse into a strange new world, introducing that splendid location teased upon before detouring back on our "filthy" present time. The action sequences are shot well enough, but there’s never a legitimate reason to go from one point to the next. And as Britt Robertson overacts throughout this big budget blockbuster, she's far better suited for sappy melodramas... 

Not that our A-list George Clooney is that much better. Grumpy and lethargic, when his eccentric former boy genius Frank Walker engages in physical activities, it’s as awkward as the non-chemistry with his young partner – think Doc Brown and Marty McFly, on Valium. And from the very onset, there’s another young girl whose purpose shouldn’t be spoiled… She winds up taking away from what Robertson should have had: a genuine connection with Clooney. Instead, the trio, together during a supposedly pivotal arc, seem like they’re rehearsing for three different movies at the same time… and badly. 

Calling TOMORROWLAND preachy, as some mainstream critics have had to reluctantly admit, is an understatement – and an insult to films with a more subtle/less overwhelming message intact: not uncommon in the Sci-Fi genre, especially going back to the Atomic Era 50’s. Yet the final doomsday monologue by Hugh Laurie, while reminiscence of Michael Rennie’s anti-nuke lecture at the peak of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, is more annoyingly hypocritical (coming from Disney) than overall effective. 

Too silly to be deep and too complicated to be involving, TOMMOROWLAND doesn't feel especially catered to any particular age group. Basically, director Brad Bird and co-scriptwriter Damon Lindelof have taken us for a long misleading ride. And the irony is... they meant to.

RATING: *
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1 comment:

  1. Your written reviews are only getting better. This is a great review. Disney had to know they had a stinker by just seeing one of the trailers for this in a movie theater. What sucks is I'm a huge Brad Bird fan, but even though I am, there was no way I was going to get in a movie theater to see this movie.

    Keep up the great work Mr. Tate.

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