(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing trailer clips and screenshots from Tomorrowland)
Doug (vo): The plot to Tomorrowland seems eerily similar to what the film actually is. The movie is about a place where every creative dreamer is taken and allowed to explore any creative idea they want with no limitations. Essentially, that's the film in a nutshell, a whole bunch of interesting and imaginative ideas with absolutely no limitations. But the thing is...you kinda need limitations. If not, you get kind of this disorganized, unfocused mess, and...yeah, you can start to see what the problem is.
Doug (vo): The movie opens with a rather awkwardly unfunny introduction by George Clooney, who tells the story about how he used to be a boy genius. He creates a rocket pack...yeah, it's that kind of movie, I guess...and an android that looks like a little girl takes him to that wonderful place where all creativity is welcomed, Tomorrowland. Cut to modern day, where another little genius named Casey is given a pin that allows her to see Tomorrowland, but not quite get there. When she tries to look for more information about it, suddenly, robots and all sorts of villains are chasing her down. The little android from before, named Athena, comes back into play, and she leads her to George Clooney, who, in turn, takes her to Tomorrowland. Why? Because he apparently created a device that could predict the end of the world. And guess what? It's coming up. But his calculations show that Casey might be the key in order to fix everything. Will they make it in time and stop an evil genius, played by Hugh Laurie, from making this self-fulfilling prophecy come true? Does Disney like really obvious tie-ins to its theme parks, literally having the opening take place at one of their theme parks*? I think you know the answer to this.
*Note: Actually, the opening of the movie took place at the 1964 New York's World Fair, not at a Disney theme park.
Doug (vo): Okay, so I'll start off with the worst part. The opening is awful. The writing, it's horrendously bad. This is so weird, 'cause this is a Brad Bird film, and he's usually very good at directing this kind of stuff, but, man. Every line is about dreaming and wishing and whimsical-ness and following your heart and all that stupid stuff you'd hear on Disney Channel movies just repeated over and over and over. Everything they say is like a mini-speech, just nobody talks normal. When I first started watching it, I was thinking to myself, "Oh, man, am I in for a bad ride." But luckily, it does get a lot better, like when you do finally see Tomorrowland, it's very impressively done, and most of it just done in one shot. The action and comedy get a lot better, too, with a lot of creative inventions and fight scenes. And on top of that, they start throwing in some really interesting ideas.
(The character of Athena is shown in several stills)
Doug (vo): For example, Clooney, when he was a little boy, falls in love with the android. Naturally, he's gonna get older and she's not, also on top of the fact that she's an android and quote/unquote "can't feel love". This could so easily be uncomfortable seeing a grown man like George Clooney kind of talking to this little girl that he used to be attracted to, but it's played just right so you feel more of the tragedy of it rather than the creepiness of it. I know, it sounds weird, downright disturbing, but it's actually kind of handled pretty well.
(Several inventions and devices in the film are shown)
Doug (vo): And as you'd guess, a lot of the ideas behind the technology is very inventive. The device that lets you see into the future and the way it operates is very cleverly done. Just watching it, you get a feeling like you could handle it. I love movies that work that way, like you feel like you could actually kind of operate these things.
(The look of the city of Tomorrowland is shown)
Doug (vo): In the trailers, they show Tomorrowland, and it looks grand and phenomenal. But in the movie, that's all you see. In fact, it's not even the real thing, without giving it away too much, 'cause, actually, it's kind of a clever twist. But when you do actually get there, it's very empty and lifeless. I know that's the point, but wasn't the whole focus of this movie to see Tomorrowland? We get one incredible long tracking shot, and that's it. It's cool, but...that's the name of the movie, "Tomorrowland". It should look awesome!
(Various clips and stills resume showing)
Doug (vo): On top of that, because there's so much going on and so much information thrown at you so quickly, it's kind of hard to understand at times. For example, Hugh Laurie says that the world is doomed, but Tomorrowland is gonna be fine. Well, if that's the case, how come nobody's in Tomorrowland anymore and how come it almost looks destroyed? There's also this great big long speech that's kind of explaining why Hugh Laurie thinks the world kind of should blow up, and, I don't know, I can't tell if it's actually really profound or super preachy. Bottom line, it's so complicated, you're still not quite sure what the motivation is. Now don't get me wrong. A movie that really wants to challenge you with some different philosophies and such, that's welcomed. But the movie literally opened up with a little boy creating a rocket pack and flying it around Tomorrowland. How are we supposed to follow this incredibly complicated philosophical techno-babble? Is this a fun little fantasy or a super-liberal that's trying to write out all its aggressions?
(Several characters are shown)
Doug (vo): Even the acting seems on and off. George Clooney sometimes can be very charming, but then other times, his comedic timing is really off. Same thing with Casey. Sometimes she talks like someone her age, and then other times, she just sounds so over-the-top whimsical and shoving the message in your face that it's just irritating. The only thing that's constantly good through it is the android. They pick a really good actress (Raffey Cassidy) to play her and, yeah, she has to do some very complicated unique scenes with George Clooney and this "kind of, not really, sort of" romance that was going on. But she completely pulls it off and she's totally convincing. She's easily the best part of the movie.
Final thought Edit
Doug (vo): As for the rest? I don't know. It kind of feels like it's trying to be a dark and gritty Meet the Robinsons, except where the message in that one, while also hammered in, was kept very simple, this one, the entire world depends on it. "If everybody doesn't follow their dreams, we're all gonna be destroyed." It just seems a little too extreme for me. And much like the idea behind the world itself, I feel it does need limitations, it does need people to say "maybe not this, maybe we should try something else." It's a cool thought to see creativity just bloom and never be filtered, but I think the moral of the story would've been more interesting if it was showing that limitations are needed, compromises are gonna have to be made. I'm still happy I saw it, if for anything else, just for a lot of these creative and unique ideas. But tone-wise, it's all over the place. Sometimes, it feels very adult, sometimes, it feels unbelievably childish, sometimes, the effects are amazing, sometimes, they're ridiculous, sometimes, it's whimsical, sometimes, it's boring, sometimes, it's slow, sometimes, it's too fast. It's about as uneven a film as you can get. Me personally, I like it when ideas are sort of dropped in my brain and can sort of fiddle around in there, so I can definitely take that from it. But if you're looking for a movie that's much more put together and easy to follow, sadly, it seems like it's another dream away.
(The title of the film is shown)