By: Mike Agostinelli
Last week I saw Mad Max, a massive downer of a movie, albeit an action packed one. This week, Tomorrowland was on the docket. Just when I thought all hope was lost, all happiness had been drained from the world, along comes this fantastic little slice of futuristic optimism to make the world right again. Or at least my small little movie-watching corner of it.
Tomorrowland is a rare beast in that the trailers barely give you a hint of any plot or what the movie is actually about. In this day and age, sitting down to watch a movie without knowing 85% of its content beforehand is basically unheard of. This is one of its biggest pleasures. Due to this fact, I won’t delve deeply into plot details here for the risk of spoiling the viewing experience for you as well. Trust me: the less you know, the better. That being said, this whole veil of secrecy was a bit much, as there’s no giant twist or large secret to hide. It just served to cover up the movies best parts in the trailers.
This films goal is to present to us an optimistic, hopeful view of the worlds future, as opposed to the apocalyptic bullshit we are fed on a consistent basis with things like The Hunger Games, the aforementioned Mad Max, the Divergent series, and multiple other movies and shows that blend into each other at this point. Granted, some movies in that vein can be enjoyable. The Terminator films and I Am Legend stand out to me as examples of that genre done in such a way that it does not lose its sense of escapism and fun. Tomorrowland serves as a breath of fresh air in its steadfast persistence to bucking that trend. You can tell director Brad Bird and writer Damon Lindelof (of Lost and the current Star Trek series) share this frustration at the current state of our entertainment as apocalypse porn. So they present to us a film bursting with ideas and concepts, some of which could have their own movies themselves. In some ways this is good and a bit bad, as we are thrown a steady stream of awesome sci-fi stuff to enjoy but some of those concepts aren’t fully fleshed out as much as the others. But would you rather have a dull film, filled with same-old ideas and been-there-done-that negativity or one that is bursting with originality?
The cast seems to be enjoying themselves immensely as well. George Clooney delivers a poignant and occasionally touching performance as the old geezer mentor figure, while Brit Robertson shines as our heroine. Even though shes clearly in her mid-20’s yet playing a 16 year old girl. This annoyed me because my lustful thoughts towards her were constantly being questioned as shes playing a fictional kid, yet looking like a hot 20-something actress. Dilemmas bro. Dilemmas. Another standout is Raffey Cassidy as the android girl Athena. She exhibits adult-levels of poise and control over her acting ability, never succumbing to the annoying habits some child actors fall into.
I shy away from talking about movie scores on here, since most of you seem to not even notice them or care, but this movie has an exceptional score by Michael Giacchino that shines and enhances the movie in ways most scores do not these days. Brad Bird also makes the excellent decision to not allow it to get lost in the sound mix, letting it play loudly over even the films action scenes. It deserves that level of recognition. Evoking classic Disney scores like the one from The Rocketeer or Giacchino’s recent work on Star Trek, it flows with the film like butter with bread. Big summer movie scores like this are why I have a nerd crush on orchestral movie music to begin with.
All this praise being said, the film isn’t perfect. It sags a bit in the third act and then rushes through its climax, throwing in an action scene almost because they felt like they had to, one with rushed stakes and unclear motivations. The villain is also a bit weak, as he just sort of pops into the movie towards the end and essentially announces hes the bad guy and begins acting like a dick. But seldom do I enjoy movies that are perfect. Its the flawed ones that give you the most to think about and latch onto. After all, perfection is hard to come by in any form, and in most cases the imprefections are what make you love something in the first place.
Damn, I got deep there. Lets end this now before I get too carried away.
I give Tomorrowland an 8 out of 10.