Movie Review: Tomorrowland (2015)

Posted: November 25, 2015 in Action, Comedy, Drama


Casey Newton (Shiloh Nelson, Brit Robertson) is the inquisitive daughter of a NASA engineer.  She finds a ring from the 1964 World’s Fair, in her father’s night table, and when she touches the ring, she is transported to a futuristic place called Tomorrowland. Just when she is invited to ride on a gravity defying monorail, the ring runs out of power, so Casey goes to Texas to find another ring. There she is trapped by two androids, Hugo (Keegan Michael Key) and Ursula, (Katherine Hahn) but is saved by a mysterious little girl named Athena. (Raffey Cassidy)  Athena says they must find Frank Walker. (Thomas Robinson, George Clooney)  Frank visited Tomorrowland in 1964, when he was a child and he might know how to get back. But Frank built a machine while in Tomorrowland, that he now regrets.  Can Frank get Casey and Athena to Tomorrowland, and can Casey the science whiz turn off the machine before it’s too late?

Tomorrowland tires really hard to be a sophisticated kid friendly movie about the future, but on one hand it’s too complicated for kids to enjoy, and on the other hand it’s too filled with already tired Hollywood tropes, which are too reminiscent of Avatar.  There are two parts to an adventure film, the journey and the destination, in this movie, the journey is cumbersome, and there’s not enough time spent in the destination to enjoy or even understand what goes on there.  I understand what the filmmakers were trying to do, create a film with a young female protagonist, and by so doing, get young girls interested in science.  It’s a laudable ambition, but the story gets too muddled in minutia to have a truly inspiring vision of the future.

George Clooney delivers his lines with the same disinterested monotone that has become his trademark, but this time the audience is supposed to believe that delivery because he’s a secluded curmudgeon, who’s become disillusioned with life.  The trouble is, disillusioned Clooney sounds a lot like regular Clooney, and therein lies the problem. Hugh Laurie is in his first major role after House, I just wish I knew what his character was supposed to represent.  The two young women Brit Robertson and Raffey Cassidy really try hard to breathe life into this movie, but as good as they are, their performances can’t save a sinking storyline.  Cassidy is especially noteworthy for playing a complex character at a relatively young age.

The direction is visually stunning when in Tomorrowland, but pedestrian with all the other scenes, and the vast majority of scenes were not in Tomorrowland.  The pacing really drags in the beginning of the movie, and it doesn’t get much better after that. Director Brad Bird, known for great animated films like Inside Out and Up, gets mediocre performances from Clooney and Laurie.

Tomorrowland:  Lands with a thud.

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