“Inspiring people makes the world a better place”, a quote from a young Frank Walker in Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland which opens this weekend in theaters. A film that would like to do just that, inspire young people to dream big and achieve greatness to help better our world and save the future, a noble goal and a powerful message for this generation. Inspired by the Disney theme park on the same name, this film sets it’s sights to become the next great Disney family adventure, but can it win over audiences this summer?
Frank Walker (George Clooney) opens the movie by saying, “The future can be scary” for which optimist and science enthusiast Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) responds, “When I was a kid the future was different.” Two varying perspectives from two very different generations who will need to work together to save the planet. We flashback to 1964, a young Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) attends the New York World’s Fair where he meets David Nix (Hugh Laurie), a judge for new innovations in science at the fair who is unimpressed with Walker’s attempt to create a jetpack. A young girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy). who is attending the fair with Nix, sees something in Walker and gives him a pin which results in Walker being transported into a futuristic cityscape known as Tomorrowland.
Years in the future we find Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), sneaking into a former NASA launch site in Cape Canaveral to stop the site from being destroyed. Her father, Eddie (Tim McGraw), is an NASA engineer who was employed at the site so the destruction vastly effects the Newton family. She returns home where Athena finds the young girl and hides a pin in her helmet for her to find. After being arrested for attempting another sabotage mission on the NASA site, Casey discovers the pin among her personal items. Casey discovers that upon contact, the pin instantly transports her to Tomorrowland. She briefly explores Tomorrowland, before a timer on the pin expires and returns Casey to her world. Desperate to return, Casey begins to search for another way back.
Casey hits the road to find answers, but soon finds her life threatened by robots sent to protect Tomorrowland from any more visitors. With the help of Athena, Casey finds Frank, who informs her that the world is coming to an end. Understanding that they must stop this from happening, the two begin their journey back to the place that neither can live without. With hope on their side, even the tinniest of actions could change the future.
Tomorrowland is a movie with an important message about saving the Earth from our mistakes and director Brad Bird’s ambitious film delivers its point with dialogue and visuals pointing to our demise, but will any of its core audience listen? One of Bird’s mistakes in his delivery is the pacing of the film. In areas the pacing works and the film moves well enough, but there are gaps where young audiences could find themselves “zoning” out which, I fear, will cause the overall message of the film to be lost. Actress Britt Robertson is wonderful as the young science enthusiast. Robertson delivers on her desire to make her character unique and does well to stray her character away from cliche’s that plague way to many of these characters. George Clooney and Hugh Laurie are servicable but not overly amazing in this film. Clooney given more to work with with his character than Laurie, who had the makings of a great antagonist, but fizzled on the development. Raffey Cassidy is charming as the young Athena. Cassidy Her characters interaction with her co-stars is wonderful and the young actress delivers.
Overall, Tomorrowland is an enjoyable film which will hopefully inspire it’s audience to go out and make the world a better place. As young Walker said, “If I saw people flying with a jetpack over me. I’d believe anything is possible.”
3 out of 5
After Credit Scene?
At the very end of the credits there is a Tomorrowland pin that disappears with the “Tomorrowland flash” after a hand grabs it. Aside from this, there is no stinger after the credits