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TOMORROWLAND (review)

tomorrowland_ver2TOMORROWLAND

Written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird / Directed by Brad Bird / Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson and Hugh Laurie

“Even the teeniest of actions can change the future.”

For months now, TOMORROWLAND has been shrouded in secrecy. Given the creative team behind the project, including writer Damon Lindelof (PROMETHEUS, Lost) and director Brad Bird (THE INCREDIBLES, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL), coupled with the futuristic setting, I naturally assumed the powers that be just didn’t want word to get out on just how mind blowing the film really is. Having now seen it though, I feel like all the secrecy was just to keep us from finding out how all over the place the film really is.

TOMORROWLAND starts to fall apart before it even gets started, and although it manages to eventually find its footing, it never truly recovers. It opens with George Clooney speaking to the audience and directly into the camera. Clooney plays a bright scientific mind named Frank Walker and he is here to tell us that the future is scary, as if we weren’t already aware of this fact. It isn’t clear yet as to why he is telling us this but he’s already lost my interest somewhat with his approach. He is constantly being interrupted by a female voice coming from off camera. The voice belongs to Casey Newton (Britt Robertson, CAKE), a young troublemaker with a mind so bright, she has no idea what she is capable of. She and Frank have different views on how this story should be told and it feels like Bird isn’t so sure himself how to proceed either.

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Frank ends up telling us about his experience as a young boy in Tomorrowland, which is the future or another dimension or both. Tomorrowland is a place of great promise where only the greatest minds are invited to congregate and invent things that will make our actual future a brighter one. As human beings, no matter how genius, tend to make a mess of everything they touch, one of their inventions jeopardizes the Tomorrowland project, and more importantly puts the fate of all humanity at risk. Young Frank was involved somehow as he was banned from Tomorrowland and spared from death as long as he vowed never to return. He fully intended to keep this promise and live out the rest of his life in seclusion until Casey shows up on his door one day and just won’t go away.

Once Casey gets Frank on board with her plan to get to Tomorrowland so all that can be right with the world, both present and future, TOMORROWLAND discards some of its heavy handed message and lets a film about a boundless future take flight. I can’t say that it actually goes anywhere truly original or enthralling, but it is reasonably playful and suspenseful when it isn’t so confused. I was just happy that we had been given a reprieve from focusing on how dire the future really is. Lindelof’s script often comes off as a reverse psychology scolding for how uninterested we as a population have become in science and progress. We are constantly being reminded about how the world is crumbling and how none of us are really doing anything to stop that from happening because, as the film surmises, we are all subconsciously resigned to our doomed fate.

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For a film about the future, TOMORROWLAND feels rather antiquated at times. By the time it reaches its conclusion (a foregone one if I’ve ever seen one before), I think we are supposed to all feel some sort of spark and wonder about the infinite possibilities that our futures hold. Sermonizing is not inspiring though and if this is the best that great minds like Lindelof and Bird can come up with, I’m not sure how they feel the rest of us will do any better when it comes to inspiring change in ourselves and others.

3 sheep

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3.3 (65%) 4 votes

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