Tomorrowland isn't the first movie based off of a theme park attraction, and it certainly won't be the last, especially with Pirates of the Caribbean's continued success. But in 2015, can a movie based on a ride hold the attention of moviegoers that have grown cynical of Hollywood's lack of innovation?
Tomorrowland does just that by focusing on the themes of the ride — wonder and imagination — instead of the sheer spectacle of viewing a futuristic world. Although the movie is primarily aimed at kids, it will make anybody feel young at heart due to unbelievable art direction, meaningful action, and compelling mystery. Tomorrowland isn't all fun and games though as the movie has notable problems when it comes to pacing and establishing an antagonist.
<span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">The titular </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Tomorrowland</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;"> is a world where Earth's smartest and brightest gather free from politics, regulations, and distractions in order to create technology that will change Earth for the better. One day, the geniuses of Tomorrowland create a machine that will bring about the apocalyptic end to the Earth they swore to protect. </span></p>
All hope for Earth's survival is seemingly lost until Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a girl mysterious with links to Tomorrowland, discovers Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), a teenage prodigy with unwavering determination. Since Tomorrowland has been closed off from the outside world, Athena and Casey must enlist the help of Frank Walker (George Clooney) to find another way in before it's too late.
The first thing you will notice about the movie is its incredible art direction. From the architecture of Tomorrowland to the imaginative new designs of sci-fi staples like robots, laser blasters, and jet packs, Tomorrowland is a treat for the eyes. It's great visual presence comes from the use of actual props and practical effects rather than depending solely on CG.
Despite its release during the summer blockbuster season, Tomorrowland is concerned with stringing together a compelling mystery instead of explosion-filled action. While the mystery comes first, there are a few action scenes scattered throughout the film. The scarcity of these scenes makes each one feel special.
The mystery at the centre of the film is no slouch either as it twists and turns throughout the two-hour run time. Also, the payoff to Tomorrowland's central mystery is well-done as it makes sense of the heavy-handed apocalypse motif from earlier in the movie.
For as much as Tomorrowland does right, it falters in a couple key areas.
For a movie titled Tomorrowland, it spends less than a quarter of the movie in Tomorrowland. Yes, the movie is more concerned with the journey rather than the destination. While that fact is understandable, the final act of the film, where the protagonists reach Tomorrowland, is over before it even starts.
The poor pacing is exhausted by the antagonist of Tomorrowland since he is non-existent until the climax. In the climax, he does get one terrific monologue, but he isn't anywhere close to a threat. The killer androids chasing Casey and company on their way to Tomorrowland are more of a threat than the main villain, which is disappointing to say the least.
Tomorrowland is a fun two-hour romp at the movies. Although it provides enough mystery, action, and humour to entertain all ages, the problems with pacing and the lack of a legitimate antagonist holds the movie back from being must-see among the summer movie rush.