If you want to go see a movie this Memorial Day weekend that will completely capture you and take you on this incredible journey you’ve never been on before…then you should go see Mad Max: Fury Road again.
From director Brad Bird (The Incredibles), Tomorrowland follows a young girl named Casey as she discovers the existence of a place where anything is possible. Determined to find answers, she sets off on a journey to find out what this world means. Tomorrowland has all the elements of a great sci-fi adventure movie, but sadly, it misuses almost all of them and leaves you with a little bit of disappointment instead of inspiration.
What I liked
Like any self-respecting sci-fi movie, Tomorrowland is visually beautiful not just in the special effects and exciting action, but in the other-worldly set pieces that no one has ever thought of before. One of the best parts of this movie is seeing how magnificent and visually stunning this other world truly is. Colors pop, everything shines, and technology has advanced to such a level where it doesn’t matter if something isn’t practical, because it’s absolutely beautiful. Of course, none of this visual splendor would have any reason to exist without Tomorrowland’s interesting premise and good message. It’s one that holds a ton of potential, but more on that later.
One thing I did really like about Tomorrowland was how well-acted it was. It’s no surprise that George Clooney and Hugh Laurie worked wonderfully together, but what did take me by surprise was how well Britt Robertson did in leading. It’s easy to look at a name like George Clooney and think that it’s his movie, which makes sense considering he does have a lead role, but this movie is truly carried by Britt Robertson as Casey and Raffey Cassidy as Athena. They’re not just good in the movie; they’re outstanding. Watching someone as young as Raffey Cassidy go toe-to-toe with George Clooney is one of the coolest things ever.
What I didn’t like
Remember what I said about this movie having potential? Yeah, it’s completely wasted. Once you get down to the meat of the movie, Tomorrowland becomes completely unhinged. The movie starts off interestingly enough, but the entire prologue feels totally misplaced, almost as if it was put there to catch the viewer’s attention. While the opening is really cool, it throws off the pacing for the rest of the movie. They try to use a flimsy plot device to justify Tomorrowland’s flip-floppiness, but it’s so easy to see through. This issue of weak storytelling doesn’t just apply to the first few minutes. After an out of place opening, the movie starts to get its footing during the second act, but at some point, you ask yourself, “How far along are we in this movie? Shouldn’t something be happening now?” And of course, by the time things do start to ramp up, you’re already an hour into the film.
This structure sets you up for a huge fall in the third act. As you move into the most interesting part of the movie, everything speeds up to a point where you either:
A) Can’t keep up.
B) Can’t make sense of things once you do start following the convoluted story.
As things feel like they should be getting more exciting, you feel extraordinarily underwhelmed. All of this leads up to a big villain reveal that is totally lame and honestly, extremely preachy. The message of the movie is a good one, if you can catch onto it. And once you do, the movie starts feeling more like a lecture. The movie is so skin-deep that it comes off as super disappointing. I know what you may be thinking. “Chris, this is a kids movie, so of course it’s not too deep!” You’re right. It is a kids movie. Too bad the filmmakers forgot that in the first act as they started asking questions they would never bother to answer.
Tomorrowland tries so hard to be this entertaining inspirational movie that people remember for ages, but it gets clogged up by its own storytelling far too often. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the movie, but it could have been so much more. It told us it would be more.
What did you think of Tomorrowland?