Thursday, May 21, 2015

TOMORROWLAND (C+/D+/A-/B+/Too Scary)

The Bottom Line: Sporadically wondrous, occasionally exhilarating and ultimately fairly empty despite all of its nostalgic bloat – Tomorrowland is a sleek look at the world-of-the-future that invests more in style than it does in actual substance.  Roughly half the movie (the first half) treats us to dazzling images of yesteryear, some intriguing adventure and a general sense of young-viewer wonder…  When the movie is focused and on-point it works really well at either transporting you to another time or drawing you in to the drama at hand.  The set-up is solid, building hope for things to come…  When it’s not working (the second half, basically), the film only scratches the surface of its way-too-many-messages.  It’s always big, bold and ambitious, but can never stop flexing in front of the mirror.  It always seems too enamored with what it thinks it’s accomplished at any given point.  It’s a movie in love with itself.  Additionally, the intensity level throughout helps ensure that this ‘family film’ might not be for the entire family – as my 5-year old awoke that evening with nightmares of its many robot bludgeonings (appreciate that one, Mouse House – thanks).  Just past the halfway mark, the story goes hectically sideways and things become so convoluted that it actually becomes a tedious chore just trying to keep up with the Interstellar-for-Kids interdimensionality and preachy vibe of the many messages of hope, innovation and the power of positive thinking. …and in the attempt to straighten this chaotic ship, the poorly envisioned villain is given a laborious speech that does nothing but push us further down the rabbit hole (it was at this point my wife looked at me for the ninth time and rolled her eyes; she wasn’t a fan – gave it a D+).  Above and beyond all this hecticly uneven forward momentum lies the fact that Britt Robertson was fine, George Clooney was just okay (kinda miscast) and like a once progressive man made of tin, the movie has very little heart or emotion.  This is a movie custom built for 8- to 12-year old boys (my two oldest, 8- and 10-years old really loved/liked it and handed out an A- and B+ respectively) and may even bring out the child in many of you…  If you can grasp that feeling of wonderment, hold on tight – because if half of this movie feels like you’re hugging a giant teddy bear then the other half is like trying to spoon a refrigerator.

Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson and Hugh Laurie
Directed by: Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol)
Rated: PG
Running time: 107 minutes
Story: From Disney comes two-time Oscar (R) winner Brad Bird's riveting, mystery adventure "Tomorrowland," starring Academy Award (R) winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as "Tomorrowland." What they must do there changes the world-and them-forever. Featuring a screenplay by "Lost" writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, "Tomorrowland" promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.(C) Walt Disney

1 comment: