Tomorrowland is the latest depiction of the future… and this time it’s Disney doing it. The movie starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson is a light hearted, sweet affair that impresses with satisfying special effects, but otherwise is nothing to get too excited about. The Oscars are over, all the A listers are gone on holidays, so for the next few weeks movie goers will have to endure films that can only be described as “blockbusters.” Productions such as The Avengers and Mad Max are hardly masterpieces, but rather a ploy to make a bit of quid, and Tomorrowland is Disney’s attempt to lure money spenders out to the pictures.
It is quite clear that Tomorrowland is aimed at kids, but that is not to say older audiences cannot take something out of it. Britt Robertson plays Casey, an adventurous high school teen that is invited by child robot Athena, played by a talented young actress Raffey Cassidy, to accompany a middle aged, grumpy genius (Clooney) to the future and there save the world from evil mastermind, Nix (Hugh Laurie). It’s a mouthful but don’t let that misguide you into thinking the plot has any complexity at all – because it doesn’t.
I must say, I did not expect much from this film when I sat down to watch it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the visual effects and at times I couldn’t help but grin and swoon with pleasure. For instance, circumstances meant that once somebody touched a small pin, they were transported to a different world, but were still impacted by the physical environment from earth. This led to a series of entertaining visuals such as when main character Casey held the pin while in a car, which resulted in her soaring through a meadow in mid- air. The transfer from one world to another is done quite well and great fun to watch. Moments like these brought the child out in me and I can only imagine how gleeful a kid would be if they saw this.
Clooney is good – both with his performance, but also with his willingness to make a complete fool of himself. Only last year he was in Gravity, which was arguably the most impressive exploitation of special effects of all time, apart from maybe Avatar and The Lord of the Rings. In the space of around twelve months he seems to have successfully gone from floating marvellously through outer space with planet earth as his backdrop, to being launched into the air in a flying bathtub. Of course it is a matter of opinion as to which is better, but regardless, Clooney is clearly up for a bit of craic.
When on the Graham Norton show promoting the film, Clooney tells the story that on the script, his character was described as a “fifty year old bitter has been”, which to Clooney is admittedly applicable. Needless to say he’s no longer Doug Ross, the ER stud doctor, but I feel he’s already openly embraced his middle age-ness in his film Descendants, where a dominant theme is clearly “the acceptance of growing old.” As for Laurie, there, at least for me, was a laugh out loud moment at the climax of the film. I hope not to give away too much in saying Laurie is crushed by a falling wall, though before this happens, when Nix is staring at his looming death, Laurie manages to utter the word “bollocks” with his English charm. Prior to this moment, there is no bad language at all so to hear poor old Hugh say this was a delightful surprise, something that I found very amusing.
As I said before, there is not much out in the cinema at the moment so it might be a good idea to just wait a few weeks. But if you have nothing else to do this weekend, you may as well go and see Tomorrowland, especially if you have a child with you. It’s not a work of art, but rather just a fun watch. Clooney’s performance is worth the few bob, and I can only hope this isn’t the best thing he’s in all year, just for the sake of his career. I would give it two and a half stars, as I believe it could have been better and the portrayal of the future world felt rushed, though it wasn’t a train wreck. If you’re into light hearted fighting and effects that can put a smile on your face, and if you are sick of the undeserved hype The Avengers is getting, Tomorrowland might just be the film for you.