What if there was a place, where nothing was impossible, where you could build anything that you were crazy enough to imagine? A place where you could actually change the world? A most interesting concept, and an even more apt description for a movie than really does channel the essence of a man who actually lived his life by the above mentioned ideals.
Tomorrowland, now in filmic form, was a concept originally derived from the legendary mind of Walt Disney himself. While his fantastic imagination developed a broad range of ideas, it was not until 1955 that his idea of a Utopian future, where all dreams were possible became a reality. Tomorrowland still exists today as a cornerstone of his parks in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The idea later developed into Epcot, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
Tomorrowland George Clooney plays inventor Frank Walker
Upon opening the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland, Walt Disney uttered some famous words that still resonate in the minds of dreamers today. Walt Disney described Tomorrowland as "a vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying Man's achievements. It is a step into the future, with predictions of constructed things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideals. The Atomic Age, the challenge of Outer Space and the hope for a peaceful, unified world".
Director Brad Bird must of been one of those dreamers, intently listening to each and every word. And it clearly shows, with Walt Disney's words nearly providing the synopsis for the film, minus a few twists and turns required of any good action movie. Brad Bird has been responsible for movies such as "The Incredibles" and most recently "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol". With Tomorrowland he puts forth a marvelous vision of the future, one focused on idealism, positive thinking, inspiration and invention. This is fantastically refreshing and provides wonderful contrast, especially in a media obsessed world solely focused on disaster, destruction and negativity.
Tomorrowland George Clooney plays inventor Frank Walker
The story follows the adventure of two captivating characters from different times, as they discover a world where everything they have ever dreamed of and desired exists. Or does it? As quickly as it appears, it suddenly becomes out of reach. Perhaps it is some kind of dream? Or perhaps it is an elaborate lie? Either way their mundane lives are changed forever and they must have answers.
A desperate quest ensues as we follow our lead protagonist Casey Newton, played magically by Britt Roberson, as she is driven by her insatiable sense of optimism towards the answers she requires. The adventure moves into full throttle with the introduction of the highly resourceful Athena, played most eloquently by Raffey Cassidy. Athena's appearance also facilitates the re-introduction of George Clooney's character, the disgruntled and bitter inventor Frank Walker.
George Clooney offers a veteran like performance in Tomorrowland, at times channeling what can only be described as an aura of Harrison Ford, which is especially noticeable during his frequent conflicts with his young female leads. It is a welcome change and highly entertaining.
It seems that Clooney has developed a reputation for working extremely well with young actresses at the early stages of their career. Films like "Up in the Air" and "The Descendants" come to mind, where he plays powerful counterparts to Anna Kendrick and Shailene Woodley respectively. On this occasion it is no different, with perhaps the exception that Britt Robertson shines much more brightly, as she does more than enough to hold her own opposite Clooney.
As Casey Newton, actress Britt Robertson steals the show. Her personality is highly infectious, as she plays the perfect foil to George Clooney's grumpy old man persona. There is also an irreverent sense of humour to Casey's character, which is as endearing as it is essential the the movie's narrative drive. As Athena, Raffey Cassidy is also incredibly entertaining. Athena essentially provides the adhesive that brings Frank and Casey together. Her role also provides the protagonists with an optimistic moral compass which becomes extremely important as the story progresses.
Hugh Laurie's insatiable talent is once again on full display playing David Nix. It would appear that director Brad Bird's vision of society as a whole is crystallised in the form of David Nix. The character symbolises a pessimistic world, devoid of hope and optimism. An antagonistic role which Laurie performs extremely well.
To add to the storytelling masterclass from Brad Bird, there are some incredibly special state of the art visual effects from Industrial Light and Magic. It really is like stepping into a futuristic dream. The transitions are fantastic, and the concepts are very imaginative. The film is action packed with rarely a dull moment, and as you would expect from a Disney film there is humour at every turn.
Perhaps the film's only flaw is its attempt at breaking the fourth wall during the early stages, in an attempt to come up with a constructive way to transition into the main narrative. There is purpose to this composition choice, which is fully realised at the movie's conclusion, constructing a convenient platform to deliver its wonderful allegorical message. However, this creative choice seems lackluster compared to the rest of the film, and it begs the question whether there was a more constructive way to achieve their intended finale.
Overall, Tomorrowland is brilliantly executed. It is a story about infinite possibilities, great minds getting together, solution orientated thinking and changing the world for the better. Brad Bird's vision encourages us that it is not only alright to dream, but perhaps essential to the survival and development of our planet and humankind. The film also leaves the audience with a most profound concept. An idea that perhaps our destiny and future has more to do with the direction of our focus, rather than anything we can discover externally in our surrounding reality.
Tomorrowland truly is one of the most original films screen junkies will see this year, whether viewers are seeking substance of story or revolutionary visual concepts. The movie is a must see.