I saw Tomorrowland a while back and braced myself for the experience. I had heard many tales of woe about how this film can bore a person to tears. One senior couple actually exited the theater midway…the first time that they ever did that in their lives! The stories were quite impressive, but in a way…they destroyed that chance of happening. At the very least, the film would be entertaining because I would be chuckling at how everyone spent 10-15 dollars to see it in the theater! Granted, the film was actually decently good and I’d upgrade that to a pretty good if not for an unfortunate moment. It’s true that the film starts to go off the rails in the second half, but the first chunk is enough to qualify it as a good movie. Is it boring? Not really, but you can make a case for the second half.
It should be mentioned that everything about this film is pretty misleading about what the true plot is. Why is David Nix listed above Athena and Casey when they both have far more important roles in this film? Look at the poster that I chose…the main character isn’t even on it. In fact, I was shocked when we got a fight scene in this film because I feel like the trailers never even hinted at that, but maybe I just forgot to rewatch the trailer. It has been a while to be honest….time to talk about the actual plot.
The film starts out with an ominous scene of a timer counting down. It’s full of tension and epicness…until it’s ruined by a voice that keeps interrupting the main character over and over again. I’ll admit that I got tired of this joke the very instant that the first interruption happened. I’m sorry…but is this a comedy film or an end of the world thriller? Better pick the first option folks since most would not call this a thriller. We then get a flashback for the main character (Most of the film is a flashback by the way) who is called Frank. His dreams are crushed when his broken invention is turned down (With an epic burn I might add) but a girl gives him the keys to the underground city where the world’s top inventors are building a Utopia. Frank likes this concept. We then skip a few decades to where a girl by the name of Casey finds a little button.
When she grabs the button, she is “warped” to that highly advanced planet. The only problem is that her mind feels like she is gone, but she’s really still in the real world so this leads to a lot of shenanigans like tripping. (And plot hax) An android girl named Athena shows up and basically tells Casey to come with her if Casey wants to live. A group of human hunters are after them as they want the button and want to foil Athena’s plans. Athena has given pins to many people to help keep the inventions going, but the villains can’t have that.
Again, I was shocked to see the androids because I was expecting more of a down to Earth story about environmental change and that kind of thing. The big fight scene in the toy store was a lot of fun with the Androids shooting up the place before being reduced to scrap metal by Athena’s gravity gun. We then got another big action scene as Frank, now much older and more experienced had his hype team up with Casey. The booby traps took out a bunch of the villains and the heroes escaped with their lives. Sadly…this basically ends the action segment and also ends the first half of the film. That’s where things go downhill a little.
So…this Utopia can only be entered from France and the heroes can basically teleport/move at incredible rocket speeds that haven’t been invented yet…and they accomplished this decades ago. Nooooooo. You really have to throw logic out of the window here and the problem is that the whole plot doesn’t make sense. Nobody noticed all of these famous inventors disappearing now and again to help out the tech world? Nobody has ever found this place since it is a tangible location? Building it under an amusement park in the 60’s (Something like that) is one thing, but that just doesn’t fly in the modern world. We’ve got cameras for that kind of thing. Let’s not even get into the fact that the world basically runs on hope. If people stop hoping and just accept their fate…then they’re basically toast. Luckily, Casey is an optimist so she saves the world by believing in it. I can’t even…..
It’d be emotional if it wasn’t so nonsensical. Yeah, these plot holes and logic shenanigans aren’t the kind of thing that would impact the film’s score in any way for me, but it does take you out of the adventure to an extent. There’s also a villain in there somewhere, but the film didn’t even need one if you think about it. I suppose that it adds more wrinkles to the film though and we can always use those. As you watch the film, you’ll notice many moments where the badge should have basically destroyed Casey, but she uses the power of plot to survive.
Casey’s not a bad character though and she’s actually pretty decent. It’s always good to be an optimist even if she’s doomed in her classes as a result. It is a fact that the environment is being destroyed and that humanity continues to spiral lower and lower into the moral ground. It’s noble to try and resist such things by keeping a positive light…but then we’re reminded that she goes around sabotaging government facilities to try and keep her father’s job stable, but costing other people untold amounts of money. Whoops…. Anyway, she’s not bad, I did have a bit of a problem with Athena though.
Can you say overhyped? Athena is the definition of a hype character and she gets it every second of her appearance. She’s pretty rude to Frank and Casey the entire time and expects them to follow her orders without any context. She’s simply too overbearing and annoying when on screen. She can fight so at least the hype isn’t hollow, but more explanations and less bossy moments would have done her wonders. She even goes as far as to pretend to fall asleep instead of giving Casey some answers. Why couldn’t Athena answer them? No reason at all, she just didn’t feel like it.
Frank’s a great character though. He represents the cynical side of the world, which means that he gets dozens and dozens of good one liners to keep everyone in check. Frank’s always sarcastic until character development destroys his likable personality. He easily steals the show in the film as far as the characters are concerned. Then again…that’s not too hard.
There is one random scene where the Terminators destroy a group of policemen that could and should have led to a bunch of epic moments, but the cops never got their revenge. It was just sad because the cops were treated as a plot device rather than as actual characters. There should be some ramifications for shooting them down, but the film glosses over this point and moves on. It just felt so random…like most of the second half of the film. Seriously, once the main characters get on the rocket and enter Tomorrow Land, the film could have ended.
The ending involves a big power of friendship moment as a lot of annoying kid androids appear. The heroes have to explain hope and kindness to them and it’s not as emotional as the film would lead you to believe. Now, I’ve sounded decently harsh on this film and it made a lot of mistakes. This will be the final time that I say this, but the second half dropped the ball. If the film had kept up the first half’s momentum the whole time, we’d be looking at a possible 8…wellllll…probably a 7, but that’s still good. As it stands, the film would have gotten a 7, but that one scene hurts it.
In another random moment, the androids shoot a pigeon. Game Over. I had to dock a whole star from the film. It probably would have been more if it had been a dog or if the scene had been any more graphic or time consuming, but in this case, it was a good thing that the scene was still glossed over. I deduct a star on principle, but at least the animal violence was fairly mild. It’s insulting that the scene is meant to be comic relief though. The writers clearly had no idea what they were doing here.
Overall, Tomorrowland is certainly not as bad as you may have been led to believe. It can be pretty boring once the set up and introduction to the characters is complete, but the first half of the film is pretty interesting. Casey being a thief does hurt her whole character arc a bit, but I’ll assume that she doesn’t do those things anymore. If you turn your brain off and ignore the dozens of plot/logic holes here, you should have a good time. I’d recommend this film anyway and the action scenes should surprise you in a good way as they were unexpected. That being said, this is certainly no thriller and if you thought that Clooney’s character was the lead…prepare to be disappointed.