Directed by Brad Bird. Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Thomas Robinson, Raffey Cassidy, Kathryn Hahn, Pierce Gagnon, Judy Greer.
The adult Frank Walker (Clooney) seems to have lost his faith in tomorrow. That was yesterday, when the future “was different; the future was brighter”; today, Frank has gone full Boo Radley, hiding away inside his isolated, fortified, hi-tech house.
The young Frank Walker (Robinson) was obsessed with learning to fly. Or, given that his primetime childhood was the 1960s, learning to jet pack, thanks largely to his mum’s old Electrolux vacuum cleaner. Bringing his invention along to the 1964 New York World Fair, the young Frank sees his not-quite-finished jet pack dismissed by grumpy if curious judge Nix (Laurie), but admired deeply by the young Athena (Cassidy). So much so, she sneaks Frank in behind the curtain, to where the shiny, happy, slick Tomorrowland is being built.
Cut to 45 years later, and that same childlike wonder is clearly in Texan teenager Casey Newton (Robertson), a stargazing daydreamer who will stop at nothing – including sabotage – to keep the nearby NASA rocket launch site from being demolished. Her undeniable passion for a space-age future brings her to the attention of Athena – who hasn’t aged a day, and who reckons this might just finally be the one to spark Frank Walker back to believing in the future and thus help save Tomorrowland from becoming a Scientology wet dream.
THE VERDICT: Akin to Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR, Tomorrowland sees Brad Bird embracing his beloved retro-future for yet another rollicking rocket ride (following 1999’s THE IRON GIANT and 2004’s even more towering, perfect, poptastic Pixar pic, THE INCREDIBLES) – and again, he makes us believe in that there might just be a satellite of love out there.
You know it’s a big deal when you get to feck with a major studio’s logo, but then again, this is Disney now celebrating Disney then, a synergy motherload that, if they’re lucky, will hit like PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN. If they’re unlucky, it’ll miss like The Haunted Mansion, another Disney theme park favourite that got the big-screen, big-star treatment.
TOMORROWLANS will probably land somewhere between the two, being a little too cerebral for full-on fan fever, but sweet enough to benefit from solid word-of-mouth. Beyond Bird’s typically tantalising direction, and a nifty script that manages to pull all the space-time continuum craziness together, this is a well-cast film. Clooney, as expected, does a damn fine Clooney, the Robinson boy is spot on as Clooney’s Mini-Me, Cassidy is A113 as the bastard child of Mary Poppins and BLADE RUNNER’s Rachael, whilst as the teenage Casey, Britt Robertson has all the quiet energy and wry grit of a slightly younger Jennifer Lawrence.
And if all that doesn’t grab you, near the end, you do get to see one of Hollywood’s most famous humanitarians throw a young girl to her very splattery death. Nice.
Review by Paul Byrne

Review by Paul Byrne
  • filmbuff2011

    Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is a fitting tribute to the legacy of one of the world’s great dreamers – Walt Disney. It’s also a thrilling fantasy adventure that feels highly original, yet as old as cinema itself. Teenager Casey (Britt Robertson) is a dreamer who is disappointed at NASA’s decision to dismantle its space programme in favour of private space exploration companies. She gets arrested when trespassing. Upon release, she finds a pin with her belongings. When she touches it, she is immediately transported to a futuristic utopia called Tomorrowland. But just when she was getting used to it, the pin stops working. This is when she meets Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a young girl who seems to know a lot about what’s going on. Athena sets Casey on the path to meet Frank (George Clooney), an eccentric, grumpy but kind-hearted inventor. He knows all about Tomorrowland, since Athena took him there. But over time, he has lost his hopes and dreams as they’re replaced by cynicism and age. Maybe Casey holds the key to both Earth and Tomorrowland’s future… Tomorrowland was inspired by two things: the futuristic section of the Disneyland theme park and a recently discovered box of goodies that Uncle Walt left behind. Within were visions of the future as imagined by Uncle Walt, where people worked together towards a common goal: creating a positive future, a utopia. Writer Damon Lindelof (no stranger to imagination) has crafted his own tribute to Uncle Walt’s vision. With director Brad Bird at the helm and Lindelof navigating, they’ve taken audiences on a wild, imaginative, original and thrilling fantasy adventure. Watch in amazement as a famous landmark reveals an even greater secret, or wrap your head around the Interstellar-like science which the film gently nudges audiences towards accepting with open arms. You certainly wouldn’t expect a Disney film to be this brainy, but it’s also hugely accessible. The story is grounded by Robertson’s optimistic teenager and Clooney’s faded dreamer, both of whom compliment each other very well. But it’s newcomer Cassidy who really sparkles, stealing every scene she’s in. If you were to mash-up The Neverending Story with The Wizard Of Oz and a dash of Interstellar, then you’d get Tomorrowland. But it feels original enough to distinguish itself from those great films. If there’s a simple message to this film, it’s to never stop dreaming and hoping, because that’s what the future is all about. Uncle Walt would certainly be proud. In a summer of sequels and remakes, Tomorrowland could be the stand-out original film that tried something different and succeeded admirably. Whatever you do, don’t miss it. ****

  • emerb

    Disney’s “Tomorrowland” is the long awaited futuristic fantasy from competent director Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”, “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol”). It stands out as being one of the very few big-budget action-adventure movies which is not a sequel, prequel or reboot. As such, it was a big marketing risk in a
    world of familiar block buster franchises. I hope audiences come out and embrace this inventive but little-known film (having Clooney on the posters should act as a big draw!). The film takes its title from a future-focused area of Disneyland that featured imaginative images of a pristine future marked by soaring building, sweeping highways and perfectly functioning technology. It is a sort of utopian city where imagination runs free and innovation is everywhere. It is a certainly a thrilling and unique film which moves swiftly from family movie to road-trip to mystery to blockbuster with great special effects, cutting-edge technology and action set pieces. I think it’s better to go to this movie without a detailed knowledge of the plot as this enhances the element of surprise and enjoyment.

    In the 1960s, the young boy genius inventor Frank Walker (a perfectly cast Thomas Robinson) dreams of perfecting his design for a homemade “jet pack”. His creation needs more work but at a design fair he meets and falls in love with a mysterious girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy) who leads him into a secret section of Disneyland that opens into another dimension.

    In the present, an athletic, cheerful and tenacious teen named Casey (Britt Robertson) lives in Florida and dreams about flying and the future. She hopes that she can keep NASA from scaling back its space programme, both because she has an inquisitive mind and longs to explore the universe and also because she doesn’t want her engineer father (Tim McGraw) to lose his job. Her life changes, though, once she mysteriously obtains a strange decorative pin which, when touched, instantly transports her to a beautiful wheat field with an extraordinary city looming in the distance. The futuristic city is an overwhelming and bustling metropolis inhabited by impeccably groomed and civilized people. It is spotless and she finds herself surrounded by slender gleaming glass sky-scraping structures and majestic monuments. The problem is that it seems to exist in one realm while Casey’s body is still physically stuck in 2015 and she doesn’t know how to control her access in and out of this enigmatic wonderworld.
    But Casey is curious and believes anything is possible. She is determined to find out more and embarks on a mission to unearth the secrets of this place in time and space that only seems to exist in her memory. When she’s bounced back to Houston, she encounters some suspicious vintage toyshop owners (Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key), and then some robot police who all come after her. She makes her way to the now older and crankier Frank (George Clooney) who expresses his disillusionment with what the world has come to. He explains things to her and enables her have ultimate access to the heart of Tomorrowland and its mysteries.

    The story moves along at a swift pace and there is no denying that “Tomorrowland” is an inspired and beautifully made fantasy spectacle. You really don’t know what will happen next, there are constant surprises and interesting ideas which make it most engaging and entertaining. While it is family-friendly, it is definitely more forward-thinking and ambitious than anything Disney has done before. Bird has displayed great enthusiasm with his direction and has crafted a gorgeous world brimming with creativity and inventive images. We are submerged in his imagination – people zip by on jetpacks, swimming pools hover in the balmy blue skies, astro-commutes, and beautiful tangles of airborne boulevards. Brad Bird deserves credit for his big ideas and his great attention to detail – a deep sense of wonder and awe permeates every scene. All the cast are in top form including George Clooney. I especially liked Britt Robertson’s
    performance. She carries the film with energy and appeal, finding the perfect
    balance between confidence, curiosity and confusion. What I liked about this movie most of all was that it has a message at its core, it’s not just another hollow summer action film. The central theme of the story is really about the importance of holding onto hope and the idea of pessimism versus optimism. It is not afraid to ask big questions about what we want the future to look like and what we’re prepared to do about it. Even in a world filled with disenchantment, social pessimism, widespread problems and cynicism, we can still have hold onto hope…..

  • Martin

    Great movie for the kids but I found it very boring. The screening I was at kids weren’t engaged in the movie which is always a bad sign, seeing as that was the intended audience.

    • Liam Healy

      Were kids the intended audience? Screening I was at was pretty much 20yr olds and up.

      • Martin

        Disney pg movie. Yeah I think so.

        • Liam Healy

          Jaws was PG.

          • Martin

            Disney too was it?