Tomorrowland (2015)

tomorrowland-2015

Tomorrowland, for me, came across as one of the more “meh” blockbusters of the year, and I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing it when I first watched the trailers. I mean, come on, what kind of movie is based on a Disneyland theme zone? Not a ride like Pirates of the Caribbean, but a zone!

That said, the film sure looked good on paper. It’s directed by Brad Bird, who was at the helm of heartfelt and exciting animated films such as The Iron Giant and The Incredibles. He also made one of the best action films in recent years with Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. Tomorrowland‘s script was co-written by Bird and Damon Lindelof, co-creator and showrunner of Lost and the writer for Prometheus and Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Throw in George Clooney’s saggy face, rising star Britt Robertson and House himself, Hugh Laurie, and Tomorrowland started looking quite promising.

I admit it started off well, setting up the fun and wondrous tone early on with some cute banter between Clooney’s and Robertson’s characters. The visuals are absolutely spectacular, reminding me of the images of futuristic worlds that captivated me as a child, and I also liked the Disneyland ride tie-in (though strangely, it was with Fantasyland as opposed to Tomorrowland).

After the nice intro however, the film never quite settles in as comfortably as it should have; the pace sags and the concepts start getting less interesting. Things do pick up towards the end, but as a “big ideas” film, Tomorrowland doesn’t go as deep or have as many layers as I hoped it would.

George Clooney gets top billing, though this was really one of those films where the big star just lends his name to the project. I guess it’s still a substantial role, but he’s not in it as much as you would expect, as a part of his character’s story is told in flashbacks and is played by child actor Thomas Robinson (who bears a striking resemblance to him).

The real protagonist of the film is Britt Robertson, who is 25 in real life but looks very much like a young teenager in this. Kudos to the hair, make-up and costume teams for making her look so convincing, especially as I had just seen her in The Last Ride, where she easily looked old enough to be a graduating college student.

Another great casting choice was British child actress Raffey Cassidy, whom they intentionally tried to make look older for good reason. I thought she was very convincing and has a great future ahead of her.

On the whole, Tomorrowland is a solid piece of family entertainment that fails in its ambitions to deliver something truly special. Despite the amazing visuals, it lacked that sense of wonder and magic; it just didn’t have that “it” factor you find in the best children and family films.

3.25 stars out of 5

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