Tomorrowland had ingredients for a decent movie — nostalgia, timeliness. How did it bungle them so badly? The film magnificently tanked. It feels like something made for the Disney Channel.
Tomorrowland, a retro-futuristic section of Disney park, has been around for decades — in the Magic Kingdom, in Disneyland, and Discoveryland in Paris — and was first conceived by old Walt himself. So they’ve had sixty years to get this movie right.
The film is so carelessly thrown together that it’s insulting. They knew we’d go see it regardless of bad reviews because we’re adults who grew up going to Tomorrowland and now we take our screaming brats there whenever we can afford it.
The film follows Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), an aspiring rule-breaker who gets recruited by a creepy British robot girl named Athena to save the world. Athena is from Tomorrowland — another world in which technology has advanced to indescribable heights — and presents Casey with some vague, head-scratching plot of impending peril while they get chased by evil nameless bad guys, who are also robots.
We learn that Tomorrowland, despite its name, isn’t actually “the future.” Instead, it’s another dimension entirely, a separate reality from ours, completely unrelated to happenings on earth. Technically speaking, no one time-travels in this movie. They’re not hopping from the present to the future, but rather from one world to another. That fact left me badly confused.
Casey learns that her world (ours) faces imminent doom. The “end as we know it” will happen in less than two months and there’s nothing anyone can do about it — except, of course, her. The end of the world is always so immediate in these movies. No one imagines us just petering out, a whimper rather than a bang. Tomorrowland becomes another hackneyed movie with a teenager racing against the clock with her new friends to save us all. Because who needs modern science when you have one special teenager.
Tomorrowland (the park, not the movie) is an antiquated vision of the future and walking through it feels lovely and quaint. You understand that this is what they thought the future would look like (sorry, Jules Verne, we don’t live on Mars, but we do have Facebook). There’s a sweet nostalgia in that experience which Tomorrowland employs none of. The film feels kiddie and unoriginal in the worst way. This movie promised to reinvigorate an old section of Disney park, perhaps because there’s a debate to tear it down and replace it with something new. Call in the wrecking crew.
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