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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lost in Tomorrowland

Disney’s latest big budget feature isn’t about one of its many beloved properties like Cinderella, or a Marvel title virtually guaranteed to make it tons of money, but is named after one of its theme parks.  Just how are they going to tell a story about ‘Tomorrowland’?  That was my big question going into this movie from ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Ratatouille’ director Brad Bird, who also co-wrote the screenplay along with former ‘Lost’ scribe Damon Lindelof, whose creative colleague in that TV series, Carlton Cuse, wrote the screenplay of the earthquake movie reviewed above.
 
To the credit of Disney, Bird and Lindelof, ‘Tomorrowland’ turned out to be a fresh, original and rather enjoyable piece of sci-fi escapist entertainment which exceeded all of my expectations.  Granted, like most people I didn’t know what to expect from what little we’ve seen in the film’s preview, other than that the delinquent young woman (Britt Robertson as Casey Newton) touching the “magical” pin somehow gets transported to the wondrously wonderful world of Tomorrowland, but I was swept along helplessly by the film’s propulsive storyline, engaging characters and futuristic high concept.  Allow me to take a moment to lavish fine praise to young British actress Raffey Cassidy, who was brilliant as Athena and managed to steal nearly every scene she appeared in the movie.  George Clooney is also in good form as the grumpy and cynical old inventor who's caught up in Casey’s and Athena’s misadventures, but we can forgive his ill temperament considering that his bright-eyed childhood hopes were bitterly dashed by the not-so-dastardly Governor Nix (Hugh Laurie).
 
You may have read or heard that the movie’s ending was a bit of a let-down compared to what came before, but overall the movie is still fun to watch.  ‘Tomorrowland’ is what ‘The Matrix’ would be like if it’s repackaged as a kid-friendly PG feature by way of Steven Spielberg.  You just have to have the courage to dream big and believe.
 
Grade: A-
 
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