Tomorrowland Movie Review
Sometimes you have to pretend to be a kid to truly appreciate a movie. Sometimes, even when you pretend to be a kid to appreciate a movie, you still don't. Such is the sad case with Tomorrowland, the lackluster Disney sci-fi adventure that is entertaining until it isn't.
Rated PG and obviously intended to tie into a section of a certain theme park that will go unnamed, Tomorrowland was never going to be the intense, exciting, breakout action film of the summer, but director Brad Bird has an incredible pedigree, especially when it comes to family-oriented affair (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille).
Unfortunately, it's easy to say that Tomorrowland is by far his worst movie.
Tomorrowland isn't awful. Far from it. But it is incredibly uneven on all measures, from pace to imagination to excitement factor. It starts with a cool concept but proves to be nothing more than that--empty, ambitious promises that fall well short of breathtaking.
The movie begins in awful form, with George Clooney trying to talk to the camera while costar Britt Robertson annoyingly interrupts him repeatedly. If it is meant to be funny, it doesn't work. Thankfully, after a few grueling minutes, the movie moves onto better stuff, with a young version of George Clooney's character Frank (played by Thomas Robinson) finding his way to Tomorrowland and being awed by what he sees.
Cue to present day, and we're introduced to Casey (Robertson), a teenage genius who likes to sabotage NASA launchpads for fun. She discovers a pin that shows her the promise of a futuristic place called Tomorrowland, setting her on a journey to figure out what the hell is going on, but instead she finds herself hunted by a legion of killer robots.
And Tomorrowland is fun, at least in bursts. The sequences that take place in a thriving Tomorrowland are full of energy, and Bird's way with action is showcased in a couple good set pieces, most notably during an escape sequence from Frank's house.
Raffey Cassidy, who plays the young and mysterious Athena, steals the show and is by far the best part of the movie.
But Tomorrowland shows its cracks--literally--when the protagonists finally make their way to the title city, which now (spoiler) is largely in shambles and devoid of life. The characters are let down, and I was let down. The movie's tone shifts abruptly and we're introduced to a series of clunky action sequences, including the climax, that just aren't very good. The entire third act is pretty boring and quite disappointing.
As an adult, I found Tomorrowland uneven, inconsistently eventful and ultimately poorly conceived. As a kid, if I can pretend to be one, I see a movie that offers plenty of promise and thrills but falls short of expectations. Tomorrowland taps into the imagination, but not nearly enough.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.