As I sit down to write this review, I realise that this is the second Disney live action film I’ve written about in recent months. However, the latest offering promised to be a weird and whimsical adventure and I had to jump on board. Tomorrowland is named after an attraction at Disney theme parks and the striking skyline alone is the epitome of futuristic wonder.
The story begins in 1964, when a young inventor Frank Walker (George Clooney) takes his jet pack to the New York World’s Fair. Unimpressed by his invention, leader of Tomorrowland David Nix (Hugh Laurie) sends Frank away. A mysterious girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy) is intrigued by Frank and gives him a pin that grants him access to the future via the It’s A Small World ride. He arrives in Tomorrowland, a futuristic city where inventors and artists are free to create their masterpieces without restrictions. It then jumps forward in time to the present day where science-loving teenager Casey (Britt Robertson) is attempting to save her father’s job as a NASA engineer by damaging machines that are destroying the launch pad he works on. Athena has been watching her and sneaks a pin into her motorbike helmet. When Casey is arrested the next night after attempting to carry out her mission, the pin is among her personal items when she is released. Therein begins a magical journey full of innovative creations, corruption and plenty of sci-fi weirdness.
The visuals and cinematography of the film is one of its strongest aspects. The setting of Tomorrowland itself is enthralling and original. There is a definite theme park feel to the entire film and many scenes are shot on Disney turf. The weakest part is the plot which is not the easiest to follow. I wasn’t able to grasp why characters were doing certain things and there didn’t appear to be a big climactic point in the middle of the film. There was a touch of emotion towards the end but it ended with an unfinished feeling that makes me wonder if a sequel will be made.
If you love films with stunning visual effects and plenty of fast-paced action, then I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. It does definitely sacrifice plot for high-intensity suspense and it almost had the feel of a late 80s sci-fi at times. The pulling off of robots’ heads and wacky tropes were perhaps inspired by some films from that era. Like them, it probably will gain a loyal cult following who fall for its undeniable charm and whimsy but if you’re looking for a good, fresh story, you probably won’t find it here.