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REVIEW: Tomorrowland: A World Beyond

Written by Fred McNamara

Excuse me a moment whilst I wipe off the drool stretching from my gob down to my journalist’s notebook. Hopefully you’ll forgive such a liquid introduction, but I couldn’t help myself – everything about Disney Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is just so… wait, hold that thought.

-leaves cinema- -drives to Disney’s UK division- -knocks on door- -door is answered by corporate tie-wearing nerd- -punches nerd in head- -gets back in car- -drives back to cinema-

That’s for giving UK audiences such a ridiculous extra bit of titles. “A World Beyond”? Hardly adds to what “Tomorrowland” conjurers up, does it? Anyway, where were we? Ah yes.

Everything about Tomorrowland (let’s just call it that, m’kaaaay?) is just so pretty. Brad Bird‘s directing, the city of Tomorrowland itself, George Clooney (who just gets better with age), Britt Robertson (who just about pulls off being a 25-year-old playing a teenager), Raffey Cassidy, and Hugh Laurie. Screw you Tom Hiddleston fans, you’ve not known man-crushes until Hugh’s interpretation of P. G. Wodehouse‘s hapless Bertie Wooster has delighted your life.

So yeah, that’s Tomorrowland in once word. Pretty. So pretty in fact that it almost makes up for what it gets wrong. There are films out there that deliberately put style over substance, but that’s not the case with Tomorrowland. Here, the visuals are so heart-squishingly splendid that it’s as if Bird and the gang suddenly had the afterthought of jumbling together all the other elements of the film into as coherent a package as possible.

And whaddaya know? Butter my bum and call my a biscuit, they just, just JUST, JUUUUUUUUUUUUST about get away with it.

Tomorrowland, inspired by Walt Disney‘s futuristic metropolis of the same name found in your nearest Disney theme park, tells the fantasy-flavoured adventure of cutesy robo-girl Athena (Cassidy) chucking a pin into the optimistic yet tearaway-minded Casey’s life, which is then turned upside down after meeting bitter inventor Frank (Clooney). The trio embark on a mission to recapture the lost glory of Tomorrowland, Walt Disney’s futuristic metropolis brought to celluloid life. In doing so, they uncover Frank’s dark past and connection to Tomorrowland, how the future for humanity is in jeopardy, and why Casey, the girl who never gives up, may be the only salvation for both humanity and Tomorrowland.

In short – pure Disney codswallop. But we need a bit of codswallop in our lives as movie-goers, don’t we?

Tomorrowland‘s not-so-impressive box office kick-off may well put a dent in any potential franchise-plans Disney may have for this flick, which I only hope to be true. Tomorrowland almost has a refreshing, anti-franchise feel to it. Its finale may well leave things open enough for more adventures, but all good films do leave you wanting more. Compared to the well-refined goings on of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or The Hunger Games Series series then, Tomorrowland is like their scrappy younger sibling who can’t get everything right but, never gives up, and is too sweet to turn your noses up at.

The film’s plot doesn’t quite have enough of a solid hook to keep you guessing what may happen next (or want to guess), and the actual execution of the story is a rough, unpolished affair. But everyone involved still seems to have a lot of fun with Walt Disney‘s dreams for our future. Brad gives Damon Lindelof‘s script as much bounce as possible (Lindeolf was the guy who co-wrote Prometheus after all, hence Tomorrowland‘s rather iffy approach to story-telling). Acting-wise, everyone is superb in bringing out their entertainment factor, especially Cassidy, who’s far too gosh-darn cute for even the grouchiest of cinema-lovers.

However, an unfortunate flaw in Tomorrowland is that once you get past the lushness and examine the little nagging spots, those spots just grow and grow into something that leaves a befuddled after-taste in your mouth when leaving the theatre. There’s plenty of fun to be had with this film, and Tomorrowland may well be, in theory, the loveliest film you’ll see this year, but once you see it, you’ll see that that theory isn’t performed with as much grace as you expect.

Do you think Tomorrowland is too cute for its own good? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Fred McNamara