‘Tomorrowland’ loses steam crossing the finish line
The newest project based on a Disney Theme Park attraction to be turned into a film, after the Pirates of the Caribbean films and others like The Country Bears and and The Haunted Mansion, Tomorrowland comes from the mind of one of Disney’s most reliable director’s Brad Bird. After taking on the last Mission Impossible film, Ghost Protocol, Bird returns to the house of mouse to direct George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and others in his attempt to make the once fantastical Tomorrowland into a summer blockbuster.
Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is a dreamer that will not stop fighting. When her beloved NASA is set to tear down the Cape Canaveral launch site, and also put her father out of work, Casey sabotages the demolition equipment to slow the process. Eventually Casey is caught, but her actions catch the eye of Tomorrowland recruiter Athena (Raffey Cassidy) who sets her on a collision course with another former Tomorrowland recruit of her’s, Frank Walker (George Clooney). But Athena’s mission is no longer just recruitment as the Tomorrowland of old no longer exists and is struggling under the leadership of Nix (Hugh Laurie). But can Athena’s recruits save the day, and the land of tomorrow?
Tomorrowland starts off with lots of promise. Robertson makes for a effective leading lady and the relationship within Casey’s family works really well. But before we get too far into Casey’s story we do get to see how a very young Frank is brought into Tomorrowland and its pretty spectacular. The sequence also introduces us to the best part of the film, Raffey Cassidy’s Athena. Cassidy is charming and winning in the role, and Athena quickly becomes the character you are really rooting for. The film devolves into a chase film for the middle act, which works fine because of the chemistry between Cassidy, Robertson and Clooney, but starts to lose steam by the time we make it back to Tomorrowland.
Laurie is trying his best here, but is not given very much to do in a ending sequence that turns heavy handed and extremely message based and loses all of the wonder that had been built up before it. While not terrible, the ending will turn off many and Tomorrowland will end up being divisive for audiences.
Ultimately Tomorrowland is a film that works well enough, but flirts with greatness throughout the first acts of the film. All of the luster and fascination with Tomorrowland is lost by the time Casey and Frank eventually make it to the hallowed place, and the film looses its momentum as well with a poorly paced final 20 minutes. Which sadly leaves Tomorrowland as a enjoyable film that could have been so much more.