You can’t ever say that Disney aren’t ambitious. Or that Disney doesn’t have the imagination and creative drive to build and develop new worlds and amazing ideas. In fact, this is the central key theme to all of Tomorrowland and when we enter this amazing world and the futuristic environment that The House of Mouse creates, the film feels like a throwback to classic fantasy I loved as a kid, from The Neverending Story to the second instalment of Back to the Future.
Unfortunately, at times it feel like the people behind Tomorrowland don’t quite trust the storytelling potential of their new and amazing world and this means that we spend majority of the film trying to get to Tomorrowland rather than actually being there.
This isn’t necessarily a problem because the movie that is leading us to Tomorrowland is full of action, adventure and a good dose of comedy. We get everything you’d expect from a family sci-fi movie – disintegration rays, evil robots, children with extraordinary abilities and some very cool gadgets. It all gets thrown at the screen at break-neck pace as well and keeps the momentum of the movie flowing well.
This is helped by the cast that at the centre of the movie. Britt Robertson is the customary teenager full of awe and wonder that holds the key to saving the world. She does a good job of being incredulous when it suits and also assertive when it helps as well. George Clooney is actually very unlike Clooney in a role that sees him as more of a grumpy, loner than the usual charming bachelor that people know and love. He gets to show-off some cool action chops and is the suitable gateway into Tomorrowland.
Ironically, it is Tomorrowland itself that poses the biggest problem in the film. For starters, it takes so long before we actually get there. We have to go on chases, investigations and use a very unique way of teleporting before we get our proper look at the futuristic world. When we do finally arrive, Tomorrowland feels wasted.
It is very cool. We get glimpses throughout the film and one extended look at Tomorrowland showcases some of the cool ideas that helped develop the central idea of the film in the first place. When we do finally get all the characters to the titular world, the story sort of gets in the way. Rather than take a few scenes to take in what promise Tomorrowland holds and some of the cooler things the world can offer – we are straight into a pretty bland environment for the finale to play out.
This is where ambition seems to get the better of Brad Bird and the producers at Disney because Tomorrowland attempts to throw a lot of things into the mix in the final act of the film that aren’t even touched upon in the first two. Themes vary from global warming, obsession with dystopia, the power of imagination and optimism and machines and their capacity for love. The film could have taken one of these themes and developed the final part of the film (or preferably all of it) around the central idea but instead we get a rushed, mindless finale which doesn’t do justice to all that went before or the promise of a title as intriguing as Tomorrowland.
Overall, Tomorrowland showcases the imagination and ambition of Disney but this isn’t always positive. The effort to tempt and tease Tomorrowland is done very well, with Clooney and Robertson on form as the heroes. Unfortunately, Tomorrowland is under-used and doesn’t offer the wonder and awe you’d expect – instead it’s used to deliver a jumbled and confused message made up of many warring parts.
Rating – 3
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