***SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW***
Let me start off by saying that Tomorrowland wasn’t a horrible movie.
I know, I know, when you read an opening line like that confidence isn’t the feeling that follows, but let me reassure you that I’ve done all the heavy lifting for you by actually paying money and sitting in a theater on this one. This film is probably best seen either at a $2 theater a couple months after its release or in the comfort of your own home a year from now when it drops on HBO. There, I’ve saved you the trouble. Now you can either keep reading further to understand what you’re getting yourself into or you can stop right here and move on. That is not to say that Tomorrowland isn’t to be seen. I actually found it to be enjoyable, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t have some slight buyer’s remorse as I walked out of the theater. This is due to several reasons…
First, Tomorrowland got a little preachy. What do I mean by that? Well, you know those types of movies, TV shows, commercials that tell you do to do something…..or else? That’s kinda what this was. It didn’t slap you in the face with it, the message was more subtle than that, but when it did hit me, I remember a small feeling of guilt and anger swept over me like I’d been tricked.
Let me put it this way…
You know how you get offered those all expenses paid trips to (insert destination) all you have to do is sit through a presentation about a new investment opportunity and then the trip is yours? Tomorrowland was exactly like that.
The good people at Disney bring you into a room, show you a presentation masquerading as a movie and then at the end ask you if you have any interest in investing in the message they’ve shown you.
What’s the pitch?
All of the scientists, thinkers, engineers, etc. have been issued an all-call to Tomorrowland in hopes of building a better….well…….tomorrow. In doing so, they’ve created a machine that can see into the future and ultimately sees the world’s demise. With this in mind, the struggle begins to fix it, but as time goes on people give up until only separation remains in order to save those that have fled to this new world and start anew.
Do they fix it?
That’s where the sermon comes into play. According to them, we are the answer. If there is hope in fixing the future, then we are the machine that can turn that hope into reality. It all starts with us and how we treat our today…blah, blah, blah. That part of the film, which mind you is the main plot point, can be accepted and overlooked in order to still have an enjoyable experience, but it requires a lot on the viewer’s part. This is something that I’ve had years of practice doing. A practice that enables me to find at least one thing in a movie to at least leave the theater thinking, “You know….that wasn’t that bad…” This isn’t the case for all, but I at least try and be optimistic.
So what were those positive moments I was alluding to earlier? For starters, Clooney is a big one. In my opinion, he is one of the few actors still working that I would literally pay to watch him read the phonebook (Others in that category: Kevin Costner & Tom Hanks). No exaggeration. This still leads me to wonder what on Earth he was doing in this film? Maybe he, much like the actual film, had a side agenda trying to spread the word about the environment. Maybe he just wanted to be in a fun film that wasn’t Oscar driven. Maybe he just wanted to do something for his nieces and nephews. No one really knows for sure, but his screen presence was one of the positives I took away from this movie.
In fact, all of the actors did well. I enjoyed Hugh Laurie as Governor Nix, Britt Robertson as Carey Newton and the surprise of Raffey Cassidy as Athena. I also appreciated the writing. Like I mentioned, it gets a little preachy, but overall it’s a fun story that puts you in the mind of National Treasure, but in the future.
But despite those positives, the movie’s payoff isn’t that good. For example, when you finally put the pieces together, which I’ve listed most of the puzzle above, you will find yourself sitting back in your seat thinking,
“c’mon…….that’s it? So they are just trying to get us to do something the whole time?“
The movie is bookended by Clooney’s character breaking the 4th wall (sort of) and talking to you (even though you know he’s actually talking to someone else) but you can’t help but feel that he is in fact talking directly to you trying to implant some subtle sense of guilt for that piece of trash that isn’t biodegradable you let fly out of your car window the other day…………yeah…………you know the one. SHAME! Now go and find some trash to pick up or else our world is going to explode one day. Full Disclosure: I would totally be one of those people that would just accept the end and instead of doing something about it just go grab a burger and shake and await it patiently. In fact, I think I’m going to go do that. You know…….to practice.