Tommowland – A World Beyond (Based on the Disney ride and trying emulate the Pirates of the Caribbean success) follows teen Casey Newton (Brit Robertson) who after gets in trouble for sabotaging the demolition of a NASA space platform finds this badge that when she touches it takes her to another reality of futuristic skyscrapers and people whizzing about on jet packs but only temporarily. After being led to the only person who can take her (exiled George Clooney) it becomes apparent she has a much larger part to play in the fate of earth as well as Tomorrowland.
I’ll start with the characters, which to be fair are generally good and whose dynamics lend themselves to keeping the viewer from getting bored. The film uses playful banter and entertaining arguments to good effect and it does keep the film going at an interesting enough pace. Positives – George Clooney & Raffey Cassidy were great, both completely sold their characters and shared a fair amount of screen time together as too, well worth the watch. Britt Robertson’s character on the other hand I just did not like. I felt as a character they made this teenager far too well rounded to the point of being unrealistic (yes, yes it’s a sci-fi movie but even still her characteristics just didn’t fit for me) and didn’t give her enough clever lines or situations given that she’s meant to be a prodigal genius, just a whole lack of development really. I also spent far to much time thinking about what were the chances that she and Jennifer Lawrence were separated at birth, it’s uncanny!
My biggest problem with the film is that the first act is waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy too long, there is no second act and the third act is rushed. Were the film to have been called ‘Getting to Tomorrowland’ or ‘Tomorrowland – Better Get a One Day Travel Card’ then I may have understood, but it’s not and thus the film is incredibly unbalanced. Writer Damon Lindelof is fantastic at setting up an original story (just look at Lost), what unfortunately he is poor at is executing a satisfying payoff, Tomorrowland is no different.
A little bit of a double blow with our villain as he was not only underused, like REALLY underused to the point where you are not even sure if he is the villain or not, but also his reason for being a bastard ended up being… just… meh. It wasn’t clever, there was no real conviction and just felt too light. Now I know a Disney film needs to be accessible for kids but it also needs to be intellectually accessible to adults too and here is where it fails.
For the most part the action was really good fun and pretty inventive. Bright colours and lots of running about had the 12 year old in me wishing I could still get off my tits on E numbers. Although entertaining the finale (as mentioned) was rushed and not that spectacular although was used to good emotional effect.
I knew director Brad Bird had done a few animations before Tomorrowland (Ratatouille/The Iron Giant/The Incredibles) and I think you can see it in the style of comedy and back and forth with characters. I can’t imagine this film working as an animated feature but this particular style works in this movie for the most part.
There’s been a lot made of the lack of original stories this year and if this is the flag-ship… it’s been a bit of a let down. That being said if these original stories are not supported other original projects will not be supported either. That’s not to say go see a bad film just because it’s original, but when something a little bit different comes around and looks interesting it should be given a chance.
A film for the kids but definitely not satisfying enough to be for the adults. Clooney commits to his own enjoyable role and the concept is an interesting one. It’s entertaining on a juvenile level, which is fine, a lot of the action was clever and fun but it was essentially a chase film, and where Mad Max knew it was a chase film, this pretends it doesn’t.