ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Catching Up: Tomorrowland (2015)

Updated on November 5, 2015

Director: Brad Bird
Cast:
Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Pierce Gagnon, Thomas Robinson, Chris Bauer


The teenage heroine of Tomorrowland grew up hearing a story from her parents, and it’s one she repeats to her father (Tim McGraw) after he loses his job at NASA. “There are two wolves,” she says. “And they’re always fighting. One is darkness and despair, the other is light and hope. Which wolf wins?” Her dad hesitates to answer at first, but eventually gives in. “Whichever one you feed,” he says.

Tomorrowland is a movie determined to feed that wolf of light and hope. It is a tenaciously optimistic movie, one that believes that the world can be a truly special place if people actually made the effort to make it so. There is a speech made by the villain later in the movie about how Earth will soon come to an end, and it’s inevitable now because people have accepted the fact that the world is ending, because doing so requires no action on their part. So get off your bums people! We got a planet to save!!!

Okay, so Tomorrowland is corny and preachy, but given that the message is that people have the power within them to do good, I can think of worse messages for a movie to preach at me (I’m thinking about those “entertainments” with hidden political agendas like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or White House Down). This is a fun and immensely likable summer blockbuster, carried by affable performances from a talented cast, and special-effects that are truly wonders to behold.

The title fantasy landscape is a visual marvel, a bright and inventive futuristic metropolis where residents fly around on jet packs, and swim in what has got to be the neatest looking swimming area that I’ve ever seen. We get a real feel for the place when science-whiz teenager Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) first ventures there after discovering a mysterious pin with a T emblazoned on it among her possessions. Filmed in one glorious, unbroken shot, Casey’s first venture into Tomorrowland is so enchanting and exciting that it’s enough to justify seeing the movie.

Neat-o! :D
Neat-o! :D

We do get just a glimpse of the city early on, but only briefly. It comes during a 1964 segment where a young boy named Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) presents a jet pack at the New York World’s Fair. The main judge, named Nix (Hugh Laurie), asks the young boy what the jet pack could possibly contribute to society. He gives him two answers: 1) it’s fun, and 2) if someone sees it, then they can believe that anything’s possible. Good answers, but they’re not enough to convince Nix.

A little girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy) overhears him, and asks him why he decided to build it. His response: “I got tired of waiting around for someone else to do it for me.” Again, good answer. She hands him a pin, and by her instructions, he sneaks onto the It’s a Small World ride and is zapped to Tomorrowland. Twenty years later (and now played by George Clooney), he’s kicked out Tomorrowland, and retreats to a secluded farmhouse where he grows bitter and cynical.

Cut to present day. Casey and Frank cross paths after Athena (still played by Cassidy; you'll understand why when you see the movie) saves Casey from evil robots who wanted to retrieve her magical pin. Together, the three of them travel back to Tomorrowland, discover the truth about their dying planet, and fight the sort-of villainous Nix, who’s now governor of Tomorrowland, to save their world. There are many special-effects heavy set-pieces along the way, including a laser gun battle at a Houston-set memorabilia store and an attack at Frank’s farmhouse.

As directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol), the action is exciting and well-choreographed (no incomprehensible shaky camera work here), and although the movie runs on for 130 minutes, it moves at a reasonably brisk clip. While the screenplay by Bird and Damon Lindelof talks about serious and heavy issues (like Global Warming, terrorism, riots, famine, etc.), Bird never allows the proceedings to become too dark. The tone is always jovial, fun, and, dare I say, hopeful. Tomorrowland acknowledges the horrible things happening in the world right now, but even they can’t damper its optimistic spirit.

Dr. Doug Ross faces off against Dr. House!
Dr. Doug Ross faces off against Dr. House!


The screenplay is occasionally messy and does have its share of faults – for example, in a home video of Casey as a child, both her mother and father are there, but as a teen her mother is gone without explanation – but the cast more than makes up for it. Clooney disappears into his role as the world-weary Frank, Laurie is amusingly cynical as Nix, and Robertson is delightful as a young woman whose unwavering optimism inspires others to hope. The real surprise is Cassidy, who turns in a surprisingly strong performance for an actress so young.

We need more movies like Tomorrowland, ones that are honest about the state of the world but refuse to be brought down by it. With news channels reporting stories that are meant to instill fear and pessimism, here is a movie that acknowledges those stories as true, but dares to ask it audience, “What are we doing about it?” Yes, it’s corny, but that’s just part of the movie’s charm. It’s a lovely and entertaining movie, and in spite of my fellow critics tearing it down, I’m choosing to stand by it.

Rated PG for lots of sci-fi action, some violence, mild language

Final Grade: *** ½ (out of ****)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • priley84 profile imageAUTHOR

      priley84 

      2 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      You should. It's worth it. :)

    • profile image

      Jennifer 

      2 years ago

      You got me curious. I'll have to check this one out.

    • priley84 profile imageAUTHOR

      priley84 

      2 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      Thank you, sir.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful overview.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)