Tomorrowland – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

tomorrowlandTomorrowland – 3/5 – The imagination; it’s something bound to creative thought and stretches to infinity.  What an imaginative person can do is endless; while creating amazing places for people to escape.  This is found in many mediums of life; especially films.  When a studio puts forth something imaginative, you are brought to a place that can be awe-inspiring to the audience.  Even if it can be great, having a big imagination doesn’t always translate to becoming something good.  With this new entry from Disney; it’s a film that implores the great worlds that the creative people at that studio always create.  Tomorrowland is a film built on a lot of promise, but it does get lost in that imaginative world.

Premise: Bound by destiny, a scientific-curious teen and a former boy-genius are on a race against time.  TO save the earth, they must unearth the secrets of place beyond time and space; where dreams are fulfilled and hopes are renewed.  With all in the balance, will they be able to save the world.

At the heart of this film are three characters.  You have:

George Clooney as Frank Walker

Britt Robertson as Casey Newton

Raffey Cassidy as Athena

These three aren’t strongly developed in the film (even with the likes of George Clooney).  From the beginning, you are thrust into seeing the character as is.  For a film like this, it would have been better to give some character depth.  Even if they one-dimensional on their own, when they are together they prove to us what makes them wonderfully gifted as actors.  As a group, these three individuals do a great job in providing whimsical banter between each other.  You see their strengths and weaknesses when they are pressed against time; watching how each of them plays off each other.  The comical one-liners are magically enticing and cheesy, but the obvious feeling is that ‘Disney’ flavor.  Another thing that is obvious is when the one-dimensional feelings come out, the typical ‘fantastical’ clichés also bleed through.  You have:

Unsung/flawed mentor (Frank Walker)

Protégé/humble hero (Casey Newton)

Foley/Sidekick (Athena)

The caricatures cause a predictability factor that has lasting effects on the rest of the story.  This is another reason the the characters don’t ‘grow’ on you like other Disney films.   This also affects the secondary cast.  Because the main cast isn’t that strong; the caricatures of the rest shine on the light the flaws within the standard elements of fantasy films.  This causes nonsensical and aloof antics to feel more harden to watch, as well as the ‘evilness’ to feel cartoonish.  This causes the film’s ‘imaginative’ world to feel like another rehashing of some of the same stuff.

The direction plays along a very simplistic script.  Outside of the creation of ‘Tomorrowland’ universe, the film is basically a ‘hero’s tale’.   The linear directive is fraught with a lot of what we’d expect in the exploration of something of the unknown.  The basic draw of the hero’s tale is as followed:

Prologue/setup – Exposition flash backs of the ‘world’, people and places; our main hero discovered

First act – Hero/hero’s group set on a journey to save the world (through convenient/circumstantial plot points)

Second act – Hero/hero’s group journey fraught with setbacks.  Action and crazed antics and expositional moments ensue.

Third act – Final confrontation with contrasting foe or standard villain.  Hero fulfills promise/happy ending

Even when the obvious bleeds away from the ‘awe-inspiring’ moments, it still stands out within the fantastical elements about this other world, and what it can be to the people of the human race.  This is where we get the expositional history about Tomorrowland.  After seeing the ‘promise’ of what this place is, we are brought to present day; where we find our ‘hero’ Casey and why she has ‘potential’.  Through linear direction, logical time gaps and convenient plot points, we watch as Casey is brought on the path to find Tomorrowland with Frank Walker and Athena; two people with some ‘connection’ to that world.  The ‘mystery’ of the connections is blurred with an ominous feeling, especially when they come in contact with the robots sent to capture or kill them (As these become more plot driven aspect as their intentions are never fully realized).  With the three forced on the run and trying to find a ‘door’ back into Tomorrowland, there is a lot of fun in the journey.  The hero’s tale is flushed with colorful action and emotional moments (even if they are forced).  The glimmer is sensationalized but typical, as it provides a thrilling rush through the first two acts.  Even with the thrills, the pacing throughout is so up and down, it feels as if you’re going from night and day without a pleasant transition.  The fragmented pacing and forced allure of ‘political’ themes takes you out of the film.  This also adds to the ‘forced’ feeling the audience has when we are to believe in the ‘mysterious’ villain pulling the strings from behind the curtains is real formidable foe.  The lack of depth in ‘his’ creation has an effect on the progression and climax (explained later).  Even for all the lacking, the ‘glimpse’ of this other world is what keeps you in the film, giving you a feeling that there is hope there will be some payoff for the Hero and you (the audience).  Once we are in the third act, we finally reach Tomorrowland.  For all that we are glimpsed; the little bits you got were a ‘bait and switch’ tactic.  The direction takes the audience as fools, as we are given the typical ‘shocking’ villain reveal, race against time (with some fun action) and the happily ever after ending.  The climax is a big letdown; as the film never really amounts to anything in the end.  This also affects the villain, as he is never revered and fills forced just to have an antagonist.  Even if the potential is never reached, that ‘Disney’ charm is still felt in this tale.

The visuals are the strongest parts of the film.  From the creation of ‘Tomorrowland’ (mostly in dream sequences) and the robots, technology and everything of the ‘tomorrow’ concept is alluring to the common eye.  That ‘amazement’ aspect of this (when shown) is what grips you.  The action is very intense, and feels real (even within its CGI elements).  The score plays typical sounds, but nothing more than that.

Tomorrowland is filled with a lot of that feeling you expect from fantastical creations, but it is never fully realized.  Even with the staggering flaws, there is still some enjoyment to be found.  If you’re a fan of imaginative and creative films, this is one for you.  I recommend this as a matinee, but not a full blown Friday Night outing.

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