With all the doom and gloom, apocalyptic teen-focused films of the past few years, it’s refreshing to see Disney has bucked the trend to share a positive message of hope for our troubled world.
Tomorrowland stars George Clooney as Frank Walker who, in 1964, travels to an alternate dimension where the boy genius befriends an intriguing character by the name of Athena (Raffey Cassidy). Exiled from Tomorrowland by the mysterious Governor Nix (Hugh Laurie), the now much older and grumpier Frank is tracked down by brilliant and feisty teenager Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) after she discovers a mysterious badge that gives her a glimpse of another, better world.
While the rest of the world is seemingly willing to give in to global pessimism and violent social catastrophe, it seems Casey has the hope and imagination that might just turn the tide—if only she can persuade Frank to revisit his past. Of course, the fact that they’re being chased by scary humanoid robots is a pretty good incentive!
There’s a lot here for older children and teens to like: creepy smiling robots, slap-stick fights, hidden rooms, explosions, a rocket-powered bath, oodles of gadgets, and even a hidden space ship in the Eiffel Tower. It’s also good to see two strong female characters.
Laurie’s character is unfortunately saddled with a terribly lengthy and preachy speech, which seems a little lazy, but aside from that and a somewhat irritating intruding narrative device, most of the action moves along in true ‘show don’t tell’ fashion.
But it’s the message of the movie that wins the day. Every day we’re faced with the choice between living lives coloured by darkness and despair, or by lightness and hope. And, as Casey’s NASA engineer father taught her: the one that wins is the one we feed!
Tomorrowland is a long movie at 130 minutes, but it moves along at a good pace, with plenty of surprises along the way. Ignore the more cynical reviews—this is a refreshingly good family movie that assures kids that it’s okay for them to be smart and creative. In fact, that may yet be this world’s saving grace.
Review by Christina Tyson
Director: Brad Bird
Rating: PG (violence, language)
Run time: 2 hr 10 mins