Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tomorrowland: Review


By Scott Unfried

Tomorrowland is yet another exquisitely designed film to come out of the Hollywood machine and, more specifically, the Disney Machine.  This film contains generous displays of Retro-Futurism; like the World Expo in Captain America, this film features the similar New York World’s Fair.  This was primarily filmed in the opposing locations of British Columbia and Florida.  I'll go out on a limb and say that this film mostly lives up to the timeless mystique of the park’s Tomorrowland from which this film gets its name.     

Thomas Robertson as Young Frank Walker.
The film introduces a dreamer and burgeoning inventor at the New York World’s Fair, Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson).  An official at the fair, Nix (Hugh Laurie), is unimpressed by Frank’s flawed, unfinished invention.  Frank Walker meets a mysterious young girl, Athena (Raffey Cassidy), who has an instant liking for him.  Athena lures Frank to Tomorrowland.  

Raffey Cassidy as Athena.
Then another scientifically-inclined dreamer is introduced—the real star—Casey Newton (Britt Robertson).  I remember seeing, and liking, her for the first time in (appropriately) The First Time.  I’ve since been aware of her work in Under the Dome.  She has a knack for playing “wise beyond their years” characters and awkward yet articulate characters.  Truthfully, she is just as much an activist as she is a science girl; she keeps on disrupting the demolition of the old NASA launch site.  Casey gets her scientific spark, in part, from her NASA engineer father (Tim McGraw).  However, where her father draws a line she does not. 

Britt Robertson as Casey Newton.
Casey lands herself in jail for her activism, which leads to her coming into possession of a powerful token that transports her to Tomorrowland upon touch.  However, traversing Tomorrowland safely involves a learning curve.  Her initial visit is cut short, however, and she goes seeking answers all alone.  

George Clooney as Frank Walker.
Her quest ultimately brings her in contact with the older Frank Walker (George Clooney).  Meeting Frank she gradually realizes that not all is what it seems.  And the fate of humanity rests in their hands.  Seeing George Clooney act with the girls (Robertson and Cassidy) is amusing and vaguely reminiscent of his work in The Descendants with the young actors.  I guess Clooney has found a niche. 

Some people find the film too simplistic or too redundant (repeating messages that are now clichés).  However, this film adds some not yet clichéd ideas to the mix.  It’s also fun.  When you go to Disneyland or Disneyworld you go to enjoy the ride, asking nothing more from it, and that’s exactly what you should do here.   

I'd rather experience a tired positive message than a fresh negative message.     

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