Published on May 26th, 2015 | by SgtKaiju0
Damn kids these days with their rap music and their snapchatting and their dystopias….
Tomorrowland ostensibly tells the story of Casey Newton, a ‘dreamer’ who laments the lack of drive and reach in humanity, and gets call upon to ‘save’ the world by the folks at Tomorrowland. But the subtext behind all of this is that we, as humanity, have given up our dreams of a brighter future, that the optimism of the retro-futurism has given way to the darker and fatalist world of dystopia and post-apocalyptic stories. And this is subtext writ large.
As a pure film, Tomorrowland suffers from a simple lack of plot. This is classic Lindelof trope, the exciting and intriguing world-building giving way to a lack-lustre and forgettable conclusion. This is the man-behind-the-curtain school of filmmaking, but we are just be told to care about the giant green head, rather than the mechanics underneath. And once the truth is revealed, the film loses all energy and cohesion,we ‘re left with unexplained actions, deus ex machina solutions and a complete and utter lack of conclusion.
And once you peek behind the story itself and look at it’s meaning, you are left just as unfulfilled. I get it, I totally agree with the point they are making, we do need more dreamers to point us forward, we need more of a Utopian outlook, but this film misses the mark in it’s method. It is an baby-boomer schooling the young’uns about how things used to be, about how we have all lost our way. And, to be honest, we’ve had enough of being told it is all our fault.
Inspired by Disney World (notable EPCOT and the titular Tomorrowland), it wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve. And whilst I do harbour a deep love of the Disney Park, this does feel like a feature-length version of their ride-films, packed with edu-tainment and specatcle.
Obviously, it’s not all bad. All the actors are brilliant, with Clooney being his usual sparkly self, and the two younger leads, Cassidy and Robertson, successfully avoiding the adorable moppet trope that has killed so many other films. And the production design is gorgeous, from the low-fi nature of Clooney’s farm to the chrome-plated Tomorrowland. It’s at the other end of the aesthetic spectrum but it is up there with MAD MAX:FURY ROAD level of detail and world-building.
Ultimately, this is a brilliant idea, combined with excellent world-building, let down by a limp third act and an overly preachy subtext. Catch it on Netflix when you can.