"Dreamy and over-indulging but incoherent."
Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is undoubtedly an exciting sci-fi mystery adventure spy-thriller film. Similar to most Hollywood films of the same genre, it is imaginative, colourful and especially loud. But is there substance behind the vibrant imagery and noise? Stripping its production blubber and technical garb, can we find a gem? Or is it another film that falls into oblivion after airing dates?
The movie revolves around three people – Frank Walter (George Clooney), Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) and Athena (Raffey Cassidy) and their joint effort to save the future. It also switches back and forth – from present to the future in Tomorrowland. So Casey Newton, some sort of the “chosen one,” seeks out Frank Walter, once a boy genius but now a grumpy, old scientist. He knows access to the future with his inventions and Casey needs him to make the world a better place. An Audio-Animatronic (or robot) named Athena has staged their encounter. Together, they strike against the enemies who are intent on destroying the planet. And as they accomplish their mission, they will have to confront their individual destinies and the painful sacrifices they require.
Director Brad Bird has created a number of very successful films, not only in terms of box office but critically as well. His resume includes The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011). In these films, he masterfully blended imagination, action sequence and convincing storyline. In Tomorrowland, he somewhat misses the mark as he sacrificed credible plot over the other. What results is an overabundance of imagination. The movie is a wonderful treat of awe-inspiring tech – advanced robots, laserguns, plasma bombs, hidden tunnels, circuitous trains, and out-of-this-world machines and structures. Tomorrowland is practically a dream world and each time we are submerged to that world, there is that faraway and wishful feeling.
Yet, Tomorrowland just rested in awing us with its CGI, special effects and high-adrenaline actions. Logically, children’s fantasies are about exploring adventures in another world and time; but here, Casey time travels to nobly save the world. But along the way, she vanishes as focus turns to Frank and Athena and their complicated past. And in the future they save, it is quite disconcerting that they choose the ones to move ahead, practically the talented and the dreamers. No room for the awful in the future! With each motion from one gripping scene to another, there is an accompanying jumble of vague truths and wise guesses.
On the other hand, the actors have done a persuasive delivery. Kudos to Cassidy who is dauntless and flawless against Clooney. Her performance is solid and she stepped up to level with the veteran actor. Both created a wonderful chemistry that the ending turned out to be so heart-rending. The scripts were also written well that humor and drama were perfectly timed. Athena’s farewell speech is particularly moving and heart-warming and one could shed a tear or two.
Tomorrowland is not a bad movie as it is genuinely fun and exciting. But it is not good either as storyline gets lost in the chaos. The viewing experience is like enjoying a random ride in your neighborhood theme park. You will relish the high during the ride but instantly forgets about it the moment you step out and go back home.