Tomorrowland, Disney’s latest feast for the eyes, well that was at least what the trailers and posters hinted at. Brad Bird returns to the directors chair for the 5th time now (feature length films) and he has had a pretty good run so far. Tomorrowland boasted an interesting concept and potential for adventure, did Bird deliver? In short, no, he didn’t.
The word that I feel best sums up Tomorrowland is frustrating, for several reasons. Firstly the beginning of the film does give us a glimpse into the world of Tomorrowland, and this is actually pretty awesome. I did enjoy seeing this world and marveling at its architecture however after the few scenes at the beginning of the film the story hardly ever takes place here. After the film teases us with these entail scenes it takes up until the ninety minute mark for us to return here. What is filled in Tomorrowland’s place also adds to the frustration. For this first ninety minutes the entire film feels like a question and answer session, with few answers. This was incredibly frustrating as I wanted to get behind the characters but I could never get on board with the action because I didn’t understand so much of what was happening. This problem is attempted to be dealt with by George Clooney’s character Frank exclaiming to Britt Robertson’s character, Casey about why she has to know how everything works instead of simply being amazed and marveling at it all. No George, we must know! The frustration doesn’t end there though, as right at the start of the film there is already a nice ease into the way the rest of the film goes. As Clooney begins to introduce the film Robertson continually interrupts him, whilst humour was clearly the desired result here all this achieved was irritation.
I did like Hugh Laurie as Nix though, as close to a villain as this film was going to get, he wasn’t even a particularly good villain but I just like Hugh Laurie. He didn’t have the script to make his character anything special, he needed to be more of a knob. However, he does have his moments with some cracker lines and one speech in a particular that gives this film some much needed purpose. This was refreshing as I wasn’t buying the theme of positive thinking and I certainly didn’t think that it was strong enough to carry the whole film. I know I’m being pretty negative but I just wasn’t very engaged or interested in anything on screen. Tomorrowland isn’t a bad film though, when the events take place in the title location it is visually appealing and I did appreciate this. I also enjoyed the scenes where we glanced back at Frank’s childhood but there should have been more of these instead of the other more dull characters that the film chooses to focus on instead.
Ultimately Tomorrowland is a rather uneventful affair. Apart from its dull nature the film is insanely frustrating for countless reasons. There is a good film underneath all this but unfortunately Bird’s direction wasn’t able to convey this for probably the first time in one of his films. There are positives though, if you were only to watch the bookends of the film you might be hopeful but an interesting start and a much needed informative ending aren’t enough to make up for a very weak body to the film.
Rating – 5/10