John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Tomorrowland Poster


Genre: Action and Adventure

Director: Brad Bird

Cast: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Judy Greer, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan Michael-Key, Thomas Robinson

MPAA-Rating: PG

Release Date: May 22nd, 2015

There is a sense of excitement and awe when the setting that the title alludes to first appears in the new film Tomorrowland. Clouds, viagra 60mg spaceships and multi-layered pools are only a few of the things this new world offers. It’s unfortunate though that that same sense of awe doesn’t carry over to the film’s plot, which clumsily sends the main characters on a strange journey to save this magical place.

It’s not surprising that Damon Lindelof is credited with writing the screenplay alongside Brad Bird. Lindelof was one of the creators and writers of the hit ABC show Lost and the film features some of the same elements that program did. There’s magic and mystery and a strange land that only a select few can survive in. The plot also slowly unfolds, filling in details along the way and sometimes creating more questions than answers.

“Let’s get you up to speed. This is a story about the future and the future can be scary,” an adult Frank Walker (George Clooney) states in the film’s opening moments. The story then flashes back to Walker’s youth when he was first introduced to the magical world of Tomorrowland at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. The story then flashes forward to the present day where Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), a young idealistic teenager fighting to save her father’s temporary job at NASA, is offered her own look at Tomorrowland.

After Casey glimpses this world, she’s chased around by mysterious men in black trying to kill her and is rescued by a strange little girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy), who seemingly never ages. Throughout these scenes, it seems obvious that the filmmakers are trying to replicate the look and feel of 30s serials in the same way that the Indiana Jones film series did in the 1980s. As George Clooney later joins Casey on her adventures, he even dons a Indiana Jones-type jacket.

Unfortunately though, Tomorrowland is incredibly forgettable, especially as compared to more exciting films like the Indiana Jones features. The stakes here are never really set up properly. The movie is just packed with chase scenes and narrative loops. When the main conflict is introduced late in the film, it’s resolved relatively easily. If the filmmakers wanted to take us on a real journey, they should’ve set up the stakes much sooner. Without them, the rest of the film feels unfocused and flat.

What we are offered instead are scenes showing the two main characters being chased and warding off their attackers. These scenes are far more violent and scary than the idealistic commercials would let on. Much of the film seems geared towards families but the intermittent violence undermines that, creating a really uneven tone for a movie that could’ve been a fun adventure tale.

There’s a lot to like about the concepts presented here and it’s hard not to appreciate some of the great effects but it’s clear that the filmmakers went wrong somewhere along the way. The feature’s narrative flaws and uneven tone really take all of the magic out of the early scenes.

The sense of awe and excitement that the setting of Tomorrowland creates early in the movie fade into the background as a sense of growing disappointment overpowers it.


Review by: John Hanlon