Kyle J. Steenblik

Tomrrowland was lighthearted and inspirational

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4 stars out of 5Tomorrowland
Directed by: Brad Bird
Screenplay by: Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird
tomorrowlandposterStory by:Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird, Jeff Jensen
Starring: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key
Running time: 130 minutes
Rated PG for for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language.

Tomorrowland is a multi-faceted and nuanced film that is both uplifting and entertaining with flaws that ultimately enhance the underlying brilliance of the film as a whole.  That is to say, Tomorrowland has flaws that could otherwise sink a film, yet Brad Bird was able to create a picture strong enough that the flaws become part of the structure in a movie about optimistic hope in spite of the failings of our world.  Walking out of the theatre, the children were all wide-eyed, filled with ideas, as if they had just learned that they alone had the power to change the future.  On the drive home, my exhausted children began to tell us what from the future, what their utopia would be like.  What we have with Tomorrowland is a film that bridged the divide between films that can have a profound changing effect on an audience, and films that are enormously entertaining.

Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson), boy-genius inventor, received a very special pin from a very special girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy) at the 1964 world’s fair, after his jet-pack invention was rejected from the inventor’s competition by David Nix (Hugh Laurie).  This pin unlocked the doorway into another dimension through the new Small-World ride, called Tomorrowland, where all the world’s most ingenious inventors could achieve anything they dreamed.  Fifty years later Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is fighting to keep hope alive by sabotaging the dismantlement of the Canaveral space center when she too is given a very special pin.  When Casey touches this pin it allows her to see Tomorrowland, her quest to find this world leads her, with the help of Athena, to a much older and jaded Frank Walker (George Clooney) who was banished from Tomorrowland by Governor Nix years ago.  Together they must find a way to get back, before it is too late to save the world.

The balancing act played by Brad Bird is quite elaborate, the scales tipping between optimistic inspiration and lighthearted fun.  This acrobatic gamble does not always pay off; in fact, there are times I questioned what this film was ultimately trying to be.  This is a film with significant flaws in story, and execution, but given the nature of this movie, those flaws add a level of character of which am quite fond.  It really made this look more like a film created from a deep love of the subject and story, than a major commercial enterprise and theme park re-branding.  Tomorrowland is a charming, and highly entertaining film.  It will spur discussions and debates, and in the younger members of the audience it can ignite a spark that could change the future.

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