I’ve made no secret that I’m a tad Disney obsessed. Being a parent will do that to you. Well, it can do that to you. Being a parent usually either makes you Disney repulsed or obsessed, and I decided a long time ago to just embrace it and run with it. I think my love of movies makes that easier to do. With that said, Tomorrowland was one of the films from last year that interested me the most. I have to weigh these kid’s movies right, because I’m bound to see a slew of them over the course of the year and I want to pick the right ones to invest my time and money into, and Tomorrowland just seemed like a no-brainer.
Disney; check. Interesting premise; check. Charismatic star; check. Nostalgic ode to the Disney of yesteryear; check.
Sadly, those checks couldn’t make this movie work.
Tomorrowland is pretty much the epitome of all build up and no pay off. It has a really engaging and provoking premise wrapped up in a beautifully composed, and at time visually captivating package that just completely drops the ball at the finale and produces something that feels lazy, rushed and uninspired.
But it’s not all bad.
Tomorrowland boasts a rather exciting and compelling first half that is anchored by a riveting star turn by young Raffey Cassidy (no, Britt Robertson is not riveting) who plays Athena, an ageless robot child who has a personal stake in the journey ahead. As Athena, Cassidy imbues her with enough honest frustrations and convictions to keep us fully invested, even when the storyline is failing us or Clooney’s odd pining over her (yes, he pines) is uncomfortable to watch. The actual journey from suburbia to the world of Tomorrowland, complete with a stop off in Paris, is well plotted and paced, but once we arrive at the magical world of the future, I find myself wanting more, and not more of what they gave me.
The way the film’s plot is wrapped up is an embarrassment, to be honest. It basically gives up entirely, allowing the film’s build-up to feel almost pointless. Unfortunately, the world of Tomorrowland itself is kind of a letdown, feeling far less exciting and vibrant as expected. In fact, the actual ‘Tomorrowland’ at Disney World is a more impressive visual spectacle.
At the end of the day, the kids liked this…but they haven’t once asked to see it again, and I understand why. It promises something it can’t deliver, and once the credits role the film leaves you with nothing to ponder, nothing to wonder and nothing to care about.