Cary, NC — Tomorrowland comes from director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and is an effort to try and reclaim a sense of optimism and wonder with the possibilities of imagination and science.
A Nice Sentiment But a Disappointing Ride
It’s a nice sentiment, but, unfortunately, the story never quite comes together making for a rather dull and disappointing ride. Tomorrowland is, actually, more frustrating than anything.
All the ingredients are there for a good movie. The premise is that, a long time ago, the world’s greatest minds found a doorway to another world where war didn’t exist and science and practical thinking ruled. One by one, they would recruit people from Earth who they believed would be able to contribute to this new society.
One of those recruits, Frank, played by George Clooney, discovers a dark secret that leads to his banishment from Tomorrowland as well as Earth being cut off forever.
A Great Idea…
Again, this is a really cool premise. Director Bird is really pushing optimism here; he wants to inspire a new generation to look to the stars and be able to feel like anything is possible. And he comes so close, as there are a lot of things that work about Tomorrowland.
George Clooney is an actor with great presence. I wouldn’t call him a chameleon, per se, but if you put him in just about any genre, he usually fits right in. He is no different in Tomorrowland.
Newcomer Britt Robertson is even better. Her character is actually the star of the film, and she’s great. Smart, capable and filled with the exact wide-eyed optimism that the role requires, Robertson proves to be a great lead, and I’m really excited to see what she does next.
Doesn’t Quite Work
The problem is that there is no real sense of urgency here. The main plot of the film is that Earth might be destroyed in the next 60 days unless Clooney and Robertson can break back into Tomorrowland and…well, it gets a little muddled.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but this is where Bird’s optimism gets the better of him. The film has a sluggish pace, which starts to take its toll, thanks to the film’s two-hour plus running time. Also, as good as the two leads are, I never actually feared that they are in danger. Granted, this is a Disney film after all.
But still, the stakes never felt real, or at least not real enough. Even if you know everything is going to okay, you should still be on the edge of your seat when your main character is in danger because you care about them. And, even though I really liked the main characters here, and the actors playing them, I could never quite bring myself to truly care about them.
Overall, Tomorrowland is a frustrating experience. Director Bird is a great filmmaker, and he has a great idea with a good cast, but it seems that he and the other filmmakers involved could never actually crack the story in an engaging way.
It’s a shame, really. Save your money and skip Tomorrowland.
Jordan Hunt covers movies for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.