REVIEW: Tomorrowland (2015)

Walt Disney Pictures poster

The following is a spoiler-free review of Disney’s Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson.

Sometimes you come across an original idea that blows you away. Sometimes a great director and a great project can alter the direction Hollywood is going in. Brad Bird is a great director, Tomorrowland is a great project, but it is not that kind of film. If you go in looking for greatness, you’ll be disappointed.

So Tomorrowland was supposedly the film that Brad Bird chose over Star Wars: Episode VII. And I’ve got to say that his decision might’ve been a mistake. It is admirable that a great director like Bird takes a chance on an original idea – but it also proves to be a missed opportunity. Tomorrowland just isn’t great, I don’t even think it’s a good movie. There are some positives, however.

The first two acts of the film are very entertaining even though the film’s opening four or five minutes are confusing and poor. I was thoroughly entertained during the first two acts, and I was excited about the film’s potential.

However, the final act is a mess. The antagonist-reveal is really disappointing, and the film becomes extremely preachy. Clooney’s scenes with Raffey Cassidy also fall flat, and that’s a real shame – Bird, Lindelof, and Jeff Jensen clearly wanted to show something here.

Raffey Cassidy is a great surprise, though. I won’t reveal what makes her character, Athena, so compelling – but she is actually the real heart of the film. This isn’t just a throwaway note, though – Raffey Cassidy has a lot of potential, and seems to be a great actress. Britt Robertson (Casey Newton), the film’s protagonist, is also a great addition to the cast, which is surprisingly well-known.

A big, big problem in this film is the number of miscast actors. I like George Clooney, Kathryn Hahn, and Keegan-Michael Key but they are all miscast – I have no idea why they were chosen for their respective parts. Key and Hahn’s parts are too silly for the overall plot, and Clooney just isn’t very good at being the pessimistic, lost soul.

At times it felt like George Clooney was delivering his best Harrison Ford-impression (who would have been great as Frank Walker, by the way), which isn’t very good. Speaking of Frank Walker, child-actor Thomas Robinson doesn’t do a great job as young Frank Walker.

The fact of the matter is that the film doesn’t know what it is. It’s not a sci-fi epic, it’s not a comedy, it’s not an action film. Honestly, this is one big Disney recruiting-commercial.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 10.0 – This idea had a lot of potential, but, in the end, this isn’t for anyone but the hardcore Disney-lovers.

I’m Jeffrey Rex

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