Hmmmm.. on paper Tomorrowland has all the right ingredients to be a sure fire hit. Brad Bird, a seasoned director with a good track record including ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’, a block-busting $190 million budget and in George Clooney a bona fide Hollywood A-lister star to carry it all through. Unfortunately, even on the gigantic Imax screen with super-duper surround sound Tomorrowland struggled to really penetrate the surface of my brain enough to grab my attention.
Here’s the story. Apparently people are slowly, but surely destroying planet earth (did you know). What’s worse is that clever old Hugh Laurie has discovered a portal to another dimension (Tomorrowland) and is happily populating it with all the brainy and interesting people while leaving us boring lot to steer mindlessly closer to disaster and ultimate oblivion. His reasoning being, that if he lets anyone in, it’ll be as messed up as this one.
Ok, so I might not be the brightest spark in the box, but in terms of plot, especially for a movie aimed at families and kids, Tomorrowland is over-blown, confusing and irritating. Cool stuff happens, including a very spectacular scene at the Eiffel Tower, but for all it’s eye-popping special effects and visual creativity it feels painfully laboured, which is a bit of a shame as the positive message it carries deserves to be heard.
George Clooney is one of those actors that is now just too famous for his own good, in Tomorrowland he looks bored, his boy-genius-turned-jaded-inventor is unconvincing and the kid actors, while blessed with beautiful Hollywood faces don’t hold the necessary gravitas to carry the movie through its 2hr+ running time. For all it’s proficiency, I think when writers Bird, Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen picked up the scraps of paper from the office they left a great big pile of them marked ‘fun’ under the desk.
To be fair it’s not all bad; some of the acting crosses the divide and there are a couple of entertaining moments and cameos, especially from Matthew MacCaull (ironically playing a hitman robot) that break the digital/celluloid tedium between mouthfalls of popcorn. Unfortunately these also serve to highlight the general banality of the rest of the movie.
It’s possible that with repeated viewings the elements would mesh in my brain more coherently and I’d feel more involved, but for a film available in 3D and featuring another place in time and space Tomorrowland feels too one-dimensional to attempt to re-visit. At least for today anyway.
Tomorrowland is out in UK cinemas on Fri 22nd May 2015