Written by Ben Martinez
Disney’s Tomorrowland was a disappointing movie that did have a few things going for it. It had a great message, solid performances from the cast (with the exception of Thomas Robinson as a young Frank Walker), and great visuals. But aside from that, everything in the movie fell short of its mark. Way short of its mark.
The general message of the movie was that future can be good, it doesn’t need to be all “doom and gloom” apocalypse/dystopia like it is in most other modern movies. That’s a pretty great message. We’ve gotten the whole apocalypse/dystopia thing over and over again recently, which made this a refreshing step-back from that. At least, it appeared as a step-back from that sort of thing. In reality, however, Tomorrowland did the same old-thing as all those other movies. The world was still going to end up completely destroyed by overpopulation and global warming and nuclear warfare etc etc etc, unless the main characters of this film could convince the populace that this future is avoidable, which they ultimately do. All that disaster stuff remains as the focal point of this movie.
The main goal of this movie was to get that “positive future” message across. The best way to do that would have been to set the entire movie in Tomorrowland to show that a positive future is possible and what a positive future could be like, rather than flat out cram all the optimism down the audience’s throat (like they did). They way the actually went about doing had the opposite effect. They showed the real world ending because of overpopulation, global warming, nuclear war etc, and these are all problems that exist in the real world. The only way we can avoid those problems is by stopping the people of Tomorrowland from beaming them into our skulls, or by allowing optimistic people to see Tomorrowland with their own eyes. But sadly, Tomorrowland does not exist in real life. The other problems do. So does that mean that we cannot solve those problems in real life since the only solutions to those problems are fictional? If there isn’t Hugh Laurie beaming the apocalypse into our brains, then that must mean the apocalypse is here to stay.
But, of course, you can stop the apocalypse by showing people like Casey Tomorrowland. So why didn’t Brad Bird and Disney show us Tomorrowland? They could have better accomplished what this movie set out to do by setting the entire thing in the optimistic future that is Tomorrowland. By neglecting to do that, Bird and Disney missed a great opportunity.
The plot of the movie was decent, to a point. The first act was okay, but the pacing was a bit awkward. They completely eliminated any sense of risk and urgency by having Casey and Walker narrate the story from the beginning. Aside from those two flaws, the first act was generally pretty solid. The second act, which brought the three main characters together, was fantastic. The three actors have great chemistry, and it showed. Had the movie been as good as this act throughout the entire thing, it would have been worth of a four out of five star rating. But then, we got to the the third act. This part of the movie is so riddled with plot holes and ridiculous scenarios that it’s hard to even talk about without cringing. It was trash. This part of the film pretty much killed the entire thing for me. I’m not going to get into specifics here, but you can hear me and Colin rant about it on episode 36 of the Reel Cinema Podcast: https://itun.es/us/1mrG2.c...
All in all, Tomorrowland was not a great movie. It had a lot of potential, but it was completely wasted. The message of the movie backfired because of the way it was delivered and the story itself was weak. Great visuals (specifically the few scenes in which Tomorrowland existed in its full splendor, and the Eiffel tower rocketship scene) and solid performances almost made up for these flaws.
2 out of 5 stars