Movie Review: Tomorrowland (2015)

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It is both a blessing and a curse to have come of age during a high point in Disney’s film-making history. They were coming out with hit after animated hit: The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Lion King (1994), and both Pocahontas and Toy Story in 1995. Yes, I got got experience all of these films at exactly the right age to be sucked into their magic, but it has also made my standards incredibly high. Even so, I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that Frozen (2013) was the only really great animated film from that studio since Toy Story.

With the notable exception of the launch of The Pirates of the Caribbean series in 2003 and the reboot of Tron (2010), their live-action shows and movies weren’t fairing much better. (The Suite Life with Zach and Cody? I’d rather cut off my own arm.) But in just the last year, Tomorrowland renewed my faith in Disney to make movies with real people in them.

Entrance_to_Tomorrowland_Disneyland_ParkLike PiratesTomorrowland used a ride at Disney parks as its jumping-off point. Now, this may not sound like the best strategy, but it obviously worked for them before. I have visited both Disneyland and Disneyworld before, and I remember seeing a 3D printer in this showcase of ingenuity and invention long before I ever saw anything about one in the media.

In the film, this realm of endless possibility and intellectual pursuits is an alternate dimension to which the best and brightest in our world are recruited by androids based on their potential for greatness. Visionaries as far back as Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison were members of this exclusive club, and the recruiting continued for decades to come. The goal was unfettered creative freedom, and to eventually invite the whole human race to join them in utopia. But, when a recruit from the 1960’s, Frank Walker (George Clooney), unwittingly invents something he shouldn’t, everything changes.

TomorrowlandIn the present, Casey Newton (Britt Robertson of The Secret Circle) may be the world’s last optimist in a time of turmoil. Around every corner she is bombarded with vision of the impending end of everything, be it through the dystopian fiction in her English class, the hopeless attitude of her science teacher as he explains the effects of climate change, and the destruction of a NASA launch site because the government has decided that science is no longer a priority. But this techno-whiz isn’t going to take it lying down, and embarks on a campaign of sabotage at the site… until she is arrested, that is. When her belongings are returned, a strange pin finds its way into her possession, and with a single touch she is whisked away into an immersive (not to mention visually stunning) vision of the utopia.   

With the help of a renegade android (Raffey Cassidy), Casey must dodge the forces of Nix (Hugh Laurie) who is determined to keep Tomorrowland isolated from our world, even at the expense of our utter destruction.

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I found this film to be totally unique and thoroughly refreshing. The visuals were stunning, the action was intense but not scary, and there was just the right amount of humor. This is a movie that kids and adults will both enjoy, and the takeaway message that anything is possible as long we can imagine it is beacon of hope in this increasingly cynical world. Plus, bonus Steampunk points for hiding a rocket ship built in the 1870’s under the Eiffel tower.


 

Phoebe Darqueling is a writer and artist who is inspired by Steampunk and currently living in California, though her heart will always belong to Minnesota.

Like my reviews? Check out more cool stuff at my website!

Like my reviews? Check out more cool stuff at my website!

 

 

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