Check out Josh and Violet’s male vs. female perspective reviews of Disney’s Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird, and co-written by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof, starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Hugh Laurie!
His Movie Review of
So Tomorrowland came out over the weekend. This film is directed by Brad Bird (most well-known for The Incredibles and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol). It stars George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven, Gravity, The Descendants) and Britt Roberson (The Longest Ride, Dan in Real Life). Without spoiling too much of the movie, George Clooney’s character (Frank Walker) is a man who went to Tomorrowland as a child, and wound up back in the “real world,” and seems to be a bit of a pessimist now. Meanwhile, we have this girl, Casey Newton (played by Britt Robertson) who is the optimistic young girl who is discovering Tomorrowland for the first time. As for what “Tomorrowland” is, it’s a world in which scientists are the world leaders, and they have used technology to better the world, without the red-tape that politicians have.
So the big conflict in this movie deals Frank Walker’s leaving Tomorrowland and the reasons behind it. Tomorrowland is in a sad state as well, because of something Frank Walker and Nix (Hugh Laurie) had invented. But since Casey Newton is so optimistic, they are set on saving Tomorrowland.
I had high hopes for this movie. From the director, to the cast, to being produced by Disney, to hearing the generally idea for the movie, I was very excited to see it. On our summer movie guide, I listed my excitement level at a 7, but since there wasn’t a lot to glean from the trailers, I was worried about the story and how it would play out. It turns out that my worries were well founded.
The story for Tomorrowland is very convoluted and really doesn’t make a lot of sense. From the beginning of the movie, we see Frank Walker and Casey Newton talking to the camera, and we aren’t really given context as to who is actually being talked to. By the time the movie ends, that is revealed, but when you get the reveal, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense. Meanwhile, the actual story of saving Tomorrowland is just not that interesting, and feels very forced.
While I am not too familiar with Britt Robertson, I am a big fan of George Clooney most of the time. But in this movie, both characters seemed hollow and forced. Frank Walker, Clooney’s character, seemed overly pessimistic, while Casey Newton came off as way too much sunshine and rainbows. Both of these characters just felt fake given how far away from the normal “center” that people tend to revolve around. I mean, Athena, an android played by Raffey Cassidy, felt like she had more emotion than the two lead characters. The reason for this was the message the film was trying to push–people have lost their sense of wonderment and optimism, and have “given up” on the world. While I am fine with this message, the amount that this movie pushes this message is too the detriment of the movie. It forces characters to feel forced, and fake, and it is not just limited to the two main characters played by Clooney and Robertson.
Visually, for the most part, the movie was really interesting. The best scenes of the film are the ones where Casey Newton is first discovering what Tomorrowland is. The effects of flipping back and forth between the real work and Tomorrowland were really well done. But, at specific times, certain CGI portions of the film felt really fake, particularly in Tomorrowland. Sometimes things as simple as a sign on a building just felt really disjointed and fake.
There were some redeeming qualities in the film. The feel of Tomorrowland’s environment is very exciting. That is the primary reason I thought this film would be really great. Unfortunately, that being the best part of the film really made it hard to find enjoyable. There were some humorous parts to the movie as well, but some of that humor also felt forced like the rest of the dialogue.
It is too bad Tomorrowland was such a disappointment. It also has not done well at the box office, and I think the reason for both of these issues goes hand in hand–this is a movie that doesn’t seem to have an audience in mind. Children would not understand what is going on in this film. Even me, at 33, can’t fully wrap my head around exactly why things happened in this movie. Adults would find the characters a bit childish because of the caricatured characters aren’t easily relatable to anyone. I just really can’t figure out a group of people that I can really say I would suggest this movie for. The biggest group I could think of is Disney fans. The problem there is, I am a big Disney fan, and really didn’t have a lot of enjoyment watching it.
Having raked Brad Bird, George Clooney and Britt Robertson across the coals enough, I am not ready to put the blame on their shoulders. There is one big reason for this that came to mind for me. In the movie there is a scene where Britt Robertson and Clooney are falling down into a lake from an escape-pod like thing. In that scene, we see Britt Robertson’s face, and she has some pretty serious looks on her face. During this scene, we hear a girl’s voice seemingly having a good time, and it didn’t quite sound like it was coming from her. But a couple seconds later, we find there is no one else around so it had to have been her. This scene made me think that some Disney people really had their hands in the film, and felt this specific scene didn’t seem “happy” enough. I wondered how much this bled into the rest of the movie, which I theorize might be why the film felt so disjointed and un-relatable.
So for rating, I would give the movie a 5 out of 10. It certainly had the environment I would love to see a good story told in. Unfortunately, the story felt too weak and convoluted to really enjoy, and characters just felt too one dimensional.
Her Movie Review of
Tomorrowland is a live action Disney film directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles), and co-written by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof (Lost). The film stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie (House), and Britt Robertson (The Longest Ride).
Back at D23 Expo in 2013, Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof presented the contents of a mysterious box labeled “1952” that had been found in the Disney Studios archives. It was the contents of this box upon which Tomorrowland was based, although the plot of the film wasn’t really explained at this point. However, I was intrigued. Even with the more recent marketing that has been done for the movie, although it has looked interesting, I still wasn’t sure what the film was really about. Last weekend, though, we went to Disneyland and caught the Tomorrowland sneak peek. It showed a scene depicting an entirely different aspect of the film than I would have expected. The sneak peek, along with Disneyland’s exhibit of the mystery box and its contents, re-ignited my interest in the film.
So, what is Tomorrowland about really? Well, I must admit that I can see why the trailers haven’t been very clear about the plot of the film. That’s because to reveal too much would be a spoiler, and would take away a lot of the mystery, surprises, and magic of the movie. I’ll give you a short synopsis and try not to ruin anything. Tomorrowland is about a teenage girl named Casey (Robertson) who finds a pin that transports her to another world whenever she touches it. When the pin stops working, she tracks down an inventor named Frank Walker (Clooney), who has been to Tomorrowland before, to help her go there again. However, Casey finds out that something terrible is going to happen soon, and that she is the key to stopping it.
I feel like Tomorrowland had an uphill battle. It was trying to appeal to both children and adults, and even had a PG rating, which made it more accessible to children. However, I felt like it had some slightly adult themes to it, and that a child would have had a hard time grasping what exactly what was going on. Even as an adult, I had a little trouble understanding some things that happened in the movie, and if I can’t understand, how is a child going to? Specifically, the big closing scene was not explained very well, and didn’t seem to make sense.
At the same time, although the film has a more serious, dark, adult message to it, the overall tone seemed to be trying to appeal more to children. For example, the opening scene, where Casey and Frank start out narrating the film, bickering back and forth about how to tell the story, had that fakey acting tone that you only really get in kids movies. It almost turned me off to the movie entirely, until the movie actually got going. What’s more is that the run time of the movie at 2 hours and 10 minutes is kind of on the long side for kids. As an adult, I felt that length, as the movie kind of dragged and felt a little too long.
Despite my complaints, the movie isn’t all bad. The acting is fine for the most part, though as I mentioned, it felt like a lot of it was directed at children. I had been worried about Britt Robertson because of Under the Dome, but I had no problem with her. George Clooney did a good job as the grumpy old man who doesn’t want to be bothered. However, I feel like the star of the show was Athena, played by Raffey Cassidy (Snow White and the Huntsman), the little girl who is a recruiter for Tomorrowland. I was really impressed by her, and look forward to seeing her in future movies.
Tomorrowland itself looked pretty cool, and it was fun finding the Easter eggs throughout the movie. There was a lot of awe and mystery in the movie, and I enjoyed being along for the ride, for the most part. There was even humor that could appeal to both adults and children. This movie had a lot of potential but I felt it didn’t quite live up to it. It was a lot of build up with an unsatisfying, not clearly explained, payoff.
In the end, I just didn’t feel very excited about the movie, which is disappointing, because it had great ideas, a futuristic society (which I always love), and even featured a female who saved the day. Unfortunately, all the elements that could have made it great didn’t come together in a cohesive way.
My rating: 6/10