Tomorrowland – A World Beyond (2015) – Film Review

The filmnomore movie blog reviews the rather splendid Tomorrowland

tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is directed by Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) and The Incredibles (2004)) who co-wrote the screenplay with Damon Lindelof (World War Z (2013) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)).  The film was loosely inspired by the Tomorrowland zone of Disneyland and you can see its influence in what I would describe as the 1960’s optimistic view of the future that permeates this movie.

The film opens with a young Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) who meets the mysterious Athena (Raffey Cassidy) on a visit to the New York World’s Fair.  She opens the door to the mysterious Tomorrowland that exists in an alternate dimension as a place to bring together the greatest thinkers from many fields of study to imagine the impossible free from politics and industrial greed.  Something goes wrong with the ideal and Athena recruits Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) to try and put everything back on track.

The movie is clearly trying to promote a message that we should be doing a better job of looking after the planet.  There’s a fair amount of imagery of starvation, flooding and the overuse of the world’s resources.  However, there is a deeper commentary on the lack of resolve to deal with these problems.  It’s easier to do nothing rather than challenge the status quo – Tomorrowland is an advert for the power of positive thinking and taking a proactive approach to life.  Indeed it is one of the things that I love about this film that it pushes a hopeful view of the future and makes interesting counter-programming to the dystopian tales that are currently the fashion.

I think the movie is heavily influenced by Steven Spielberg’s optimistic science fiction of the late 1970’s/early 1980’s.  I say this because of the mix of broken families with the reliance of the kids relative lack of restraint to think the impossible and rekindle the adult characters lust for life.  I’m hesitant to draw a comparison with the kids of E.T. (1982) or the benevolent creatures of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) but the similarities were too obvious for me to ignore.

Brad Bird delivers some very powerful images, chief among which is Tomorrowland itself, which must rely on CGI but look faultless on screen.  There’s an amazing set-piece involving the Eiffel Tower and a Victoriana space ship, that could have come straight out of a Jules Verne novel, which is worth the price of admission on its own.  I would like to congratulate the young members of the cast for their strong performances – the film is very much led by Cassidy and Robertson and I would be surprised if we don’t see much more of them in the coming years.

The critical response to this film has been mixed from what I have seen and read.  Tomorrowland is managing 50% on the Tomatometer and has an audience score of 61%.  I loved it despite having some reservations when going in.  I have learned over the last year or so to stand by my opinions and accept the subjectivity of film while also stating that anyone who has anything negative to say about this film is clearly an idiot and must be locked up for their own safety.  Never thought I’d be be making the following statement coming into 2015 – this is the best film I’ve seen so far this year.  My rating 5/5.

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