Movie Review: ‘TOMORROWLAND’ – An Uneven Trip to Disney World

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Preston Barta // Features Editor

TOMORROWLAND | 130 min | Rated PG
Director: Brad Bird
Cast: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Thomas Robinson, Pierce Gagnon and Tim McGraw

There was certainly a lot of mystery surrounding this film before trailers began to hit the web. Since we heard of a project that would team up director Brad Bird (THE INCREDIBLES, GHOST PROTOCOL) and screenwriter Damon Lindelof (LOST, PROMETHEUS), expectations and beliefs ran rampant. Some uncovered a few clues that pointed towards a new STAR WARS film (obviously wasn’t the case), while others speculated something involving aliens and UFOs. But then, the truth was set straight once the trailers sprouted and the plot was revealed.

The story, simply put, is about a man, a girl and a robot who travel across dimensions to battle some loony obsessed with technology and inventions. Sounds like it could be cool, right?

Seeing what Bird did for the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise with his live-action debut, GHOST PROTOCOL, proved that he was indeed up for the task and lived well to the expectations of Tom Cruise and the entire production team lead by J.J. Abrams, who directed the third installment back in 2006. Bird brought forth a plethora of well-orchestrated action sequences and raised the bar for how the genre is done. So you can only imagine how cinephiles were anticipated something game-changing here with TOMORROWLAND, even within the world of Disney (I mean, he did do wonders with THE INCREDIBLES).

Britt Robertson (THE LONGEST RIDE) plays Casey Newton, a young lady with a drive to do big things and change the world. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Britt Robertson (THE LONGEST RIDE) plays Casey Newton, a young lady with a drive to do big things and change the world. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

However, while TOMORROWLAND features engaging performances, some interesting political commentary here and there, and fun set designs and visuals, Bird loses sight on the story and lets it slip away. It’s like a trip to Disney World. You get excited about the rides and sharing the experience with everyone, but then you gotta wait in that line, deal with those screaming kids and overpriced food– and once you leave you question whether it was worth it.

After so much hype, TOMORROWLAND is an aesthetically-pleasing failure about trying to succeed, which is disappointing considering the party involved. Kids are sure to love it, as it includes enough goofy sci-fi action (similar to SPY KIDS) to keep them on the edge of their seats, but adults will walk away feeling rather exhausted and empty.

TOMORROWLAND opens at 7 p.m. tonight in participating theaters and everywhere tomorrow.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.