Tomorrowland (2015, Brad Bird)
Borrowing its name from a Disneyland ride, Tomorrowland attempts to be the most original film released this year. Directed by Brad Bird, who returns to the company that kick-started his career, the film presents a narrative that struggles to create balance within the messages it attempts to convey. Going against the flood of reboots and re brands that have controlled the industry, Disney have placed a large budget into this film’s production. However, Disney’s bravery is not rewarded, as Tomorrowland is unable to deliver its originality in a justifiable manner. Emphasising spectacle over substance, Tomorrowland is visually impressive but lacks any true definition with regard to its storyline or characters.
Framed within a public address, the narrative recounts the flashback of principal character Frank Walker (George Clooney) attending the 1964 New York World Fair. Panellist David Nix (Hugh Laurie) dismisses the boy inventor after being left disappointed with the limited nature of his jetpack. Frank is given an embossed pin after drawing the attention of a young girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy). He is then instructed to follow her group as they partake in a fairground ride. Frank arrives in Tomorrowland, an alternative reality that’s both magical and futuristic, and is instantly amazed at what he sees.
The storyline then shifts to Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) as she attempts to sabotage a decommissioned NASA launch centre. The young girl is held in custody after being caught in the act, where she finds an embossed pin within her personal items. Upon touching the badge, she is transported to the outskirts of Tomorrowland. Desperate to gain access to this land of wonder, Casey stumbles upon Athena and Frank, who recruit her in hopes of stopping the impending cataclysm due to arrive in 59 days.
Tomorrowland displays confusion and tediousness within its slow moving plot. Brad Bird seems overly desperate to present a futuristic storyline. However he cannot get past the weighed down moments of unexplained science, and forced ideologies that never mature past initial statement. Ultimately the film fails in not opting towards a primary demographic, which results in a multi-layered mess of convoluted plot elements
With productions standards at such a high quality, and a cast that mixes established actors with youthful professionals, the film surprisingly becomes an accumulation of disappointments. With the youthful support failing to reach the potential of its premise, the film is unable to personify its characters correctly. George Clooney is the strongest element of the films cast, but struggles to carry the film on his own – resulting in a mismatch of character development.
A slow beginning – the film takes 55 minutes to pair the two leads – and a lack of direction results in a release that never encapsulates the audience within its wonder. With the obvious message of mankind’s destruction, Tomorrowland can easily be seen as a political movie aimed at children. Through this deep and unwanted attempt to personify its own ideology, Tomorrowland struggles to maintain its positives – instead opting to push opinion down its audience’s throat.
Plot – 2
Acting – 3
Direction – 3
Special Effects –4
Retrospect – 2
Overall – 2.5 out of 5