Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Tomorrowland

TOMORROWLAND bombed at the box office and got mostly bad reviews, and I think I know why both of those things happened. This film is pretty much a love letter to anybody who grew up reading science fiction from the Twenties, Thirties, Forties, and Fifties (one of the supporting characters even uses the name Hugo Gernsback!), and that description probably doesn’t fit many film critics these days, or a vast portion of the movie-going public, either. But for those who are the target audience, like me, it’s a wonderful little film.

The plot’s kind of hard to describe. It involves Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, the 1964 New York World’s Fair, alternate universes, and killer robots from the future. It’s complicated, but it all makes sense in the end (I think). George Clooney is a disillusioned inventor, Britt Robertson is a brilliant teenage girl who has to save the earth, and a little girl named Raffey Cassidy sort of steals the show as a visitor from the future.

TOMORROWLAND was directed and co-written by Brad Bird, who did THE IRON GIANT and THE INCREDIBLES, so it’s not surprising there’s a sense of wonder and an optimism that are missing from a lot of contemporary films. Though clearly in the minority, I think it’s great, and if you’re a science fiction fan, there’s a chance you might, too. Highly recommended. 


DeadSpiderEye said...

Saw it the other day, I gotta say it was a little disappointing considering the hook is fantastic. I got the old Disney feel from the flick, it reminded me so much of The Black Hole in that way. It's like a filter that descends, obscuring your senses so that even the ons screen deaths can't cause a stir, they just seem incongruous. The influences are quite starkly apparent, Metropolis, the 2001 anime being the one I would single out. I think Tommowland wasn't just another exercise in mining the Japanese lexicon though, it was trying to transcribe themes from those influences. That's a worthy goal, it's just that what happened, did the script get butchered, was it gutted in the editing suit? The holes in the film are too monstrous in scale to ignore, so the plot which is rather simple, even elegant, seems obscure and arcane. As I've hinted, I think it was probably a decent film, but something happened between the treatment landing on the desk and the image on the screen, that waylaid the intention behind it.

Keith West said...

I wanted to see this one but wasn't able to get to the theater in time. I'll try to catch it on DVD or Netflix.