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REVIEW: Does ‘Tomorrowland’ have the right ideas?


Photo: www.slashfilm.com 


 Tomorrowland, the ambitious new adventure film about another futuristic world mysteriously connected to ours, looks brilliant upon first impression. Brad Bird, who directed the live action Mission Impossible 4 and the superb animated film The Incredibles, brings his considerable skill to the action.


The movie serves up grumpy George Clooney as Frank Walker, a reclusive man, in a house that gives new meaning to home security. Walker wants to be left alone. Want to guess how well that works out?


Walker’s story is contrasted with that of Casey Newton’s, portrayed by Britt Robertson (Scream 4, the CW series The Secret Circle), who does her best to play a tech savvy teenager who’s dabbling with gadgets (she’s 25). She comes off as a bit of an old soul, but would it matter if they wrote the part for a college student? With her father, who’s clearly a role model as an engineer, it’s mildly annoying how her tech aptitude comes as a surprise. It’s 2015 people. Bet her Lego’s weren’t pink. Frank and Casey try to find their way to Tomorrowland, which is inspired by the Disney attraction. The monorail in the park inspired the zooming spaceship floating effortlessly in the air. A few other, ah creatures, appear to be influenced by the Audio-Animatronics used in the Disney attractions like the Hall of Presidents.


There are several excellent sequences in the film, but the overarching plot in Tomorrowland is a letdown and the film has some issues. Writers Damon Lindelof (World War Z, Star Trek into Darkness, Prometheus, Lost) and Bird struggle to tell a coherent story. Much more encouraging is Hugh Laurie, who uses his real accent to play Nix, while Raffey Cassidy is a scene-stealer as Athena. Cassidy handles a complex role for a young actress. While Hollywood has come under fire for how it employs women, Tomorrowland benefits from having two young women (Cassidy and Robertson) with major roles.


While the plot and "big bad" could leave you unfulfilled if you’re over the age of 10, Tomorrowland is still a nice uplifting story that encourages creativity, ingenuity and collaboration. It’s a safe choice if your children are looking for a thrilling adventure. The film is PG, and may be a bit scary for someone under the age of 10. There are some explosions and two scenes that are a bit violent.



Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: www.slashfilm.com