HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:83
“Tomorrowland” was an ENORMOUS flop for Disney. We’re talking like the Johnny Depp “The Lone Range” level of flop, costing them quite a few million dollars after marketing costs (somehow this film went over 230 million after marketing costs and only made a fraction of that in the theater). I never was able to see it in theaters, but listened as the movie either got trashed by critics, or praised for being ahead of its time. After viewing myself, I have to say that it has features of both. Unbridled optimism and the push for hope drives this film forward, but it also acts as the very same barrier that made this unappealing to much of the masses. Clooney and crew have some great performances, but I think Brad Bird’s message is hard to swallow on a subconscious level.
We open the film with Frank Walker (George Clooney) and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) describing how there was this wonderful place called Tomorrowland, a place where everything was beautiful, until it all went in the toilet. Rewind a few years and we see a young Frank Walker as the bright mind of innovation, creating a rocket pack that actually ALMOST works. Putting his invention up at a science fair he catches the eye of Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a young girl associated with the mysterious Mr. Nix (Hugh Laurie), who just so happened to poo poo his invention. Slipping him a mysterious “T” pin, Athena draws him into the world of Tomorrowland, a secret area where geniuses and dreamers from all around the world can meet in private and just invent whatever their heart desires, free from the politics and infighting of the regular world.
Fast forward to present once more and we meet Casey. She is a bit of a rapscallion, fighting against the destruction of a NASA space platform that once destroyed, will end the career of her father. Sabotaging the platform’s destruction just one too many times, Casey ends up in jail. Upon being releases she finds the same mysterious pin that Frank Walker was given decades ago, and is sucked into a war that she never knew existed. It seems that Tomorrowland is not what it once was. Frank is exiled to earth, and the robotic creatures keep the alternate world out of reach. A device that should never have been invented has been invented, and the end of the world is night. That is unless Casey can stop this device from causing any more harm than it already has.
I will say this. “Tomorrowland” is extremely inventive and imaginative, much like the premise of the film. The acting is excellent, and once again George Clooney steals the show. I have been a fan of Clooney since as long as I can imagine, as he’s a very charismatic actor with a lot of charm behind that handsome smile of his. Britt Robertson does a great job as Casey, but the one who REALLY took me by surprise was Raffey Cassidy. The girl just exudes charm and enthusiasm in every scene that she was in. She even did all her own stunts during the action pieces, and while she’s not 10th degree black belt, did a wonderful job at portraying a high powered android. The film also happens to be an eye candy experience from beginning to end. Tomorrowland is every bit as shiny and “space agey” (yes that is a term I made up) as one would expect seeing the trailer, and the CGI blends seamlessly with the live action pieces.
Now, at the same time I can understand why “Tomorrowland” did so poorly amongst the masses. I try to bring politics or wild theories into the review, but I kind of have to at this point. The basis of “Tomorrowland” is that there is hope out there, but not only hope, unbridled optimism blended with a bit of utopianism is the main selling point here, and that is the flaw. Humans have a need for hope. It’s one of the things that makes humanity so wonderful. We look forward to the future and can hope for better things. The problem is that Utopianism is basically unbridled hope, something that doesn’t exist in the real world. Utopias are pretty much impossible due to the nature of mankind, and as such when so much of the film is based upon unbridles optimism and the idea of utopianism, the brain rejects it due to the sheer break from what we know is real. Now I’m not saying we can’t suspend disbelief, but that type of saccharine sweet version of “hope” is an anathema of the fabric of reality, and thus the masses kind of rolled their eyes and moved on.
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=55682[/img]Presented in a slightly off the beaten path aspect ratio of 2.20:1, “Tomorrowland” looks absolutely fabulous on Blu-ray. Bright shiny image filled with heavily saturated colors just pop off the screen at every turn. The regular world sequences look amazing, with sharp, finely detailed imagery with natural colors. Tomorrowland, on the other hand, kicks it up a notch with shiny metallic trim and bright neon energy balls with uber white and polished robots. Colors are deeper and more vibrant, giving it a futuristic tone. Black levels are deep and inky, no matter the location, and show no signs of crush or greyed out tones. I did notice some very mild banding in one or two scenes, but it wasn’t enough to really cause a problem. Top notch transfer all the way around.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=55690[/img]With so many Dolby Atmos titles out there (and even some emerging DTS:X titles) I have really been hoping that Disney would jump on the new object based bandwagon. While that dream is still not yet fully realized, I can say that Disney’s 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is in NO WAY subpar because of that. Aggressive and finely detailed, it stands out as a fantastic audio experience. Dialog is clean and clear, free of any distortions and well balanced with the action effects. I never once had to adjust the volume during the action sequences, and the quieter moments were perfectly audible without cranking it up. Surround activity is flawless, with great directionality, especially during the home invasion of Frank’s land. LFE is deep and powerful, kicking into full gear during quite a few scenes. The futuristic “laser” guns pack a wallop, and the Eiffel tower re-entry into Tomorrowland will seriously flatten a few large objects with the sheer weight.
• Remembering the Future: A Personal Journey Through "Tomorrowland" with Brad Bird
• Animated Short: "The Origins of Plus Ultra"
• Casting ""Tomorrow land""
• A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session
• "The World of Tomorrow Science Hour": Hosted by Futurologist David Nix: Outtakes from a long-lost Disney series plot.
• Deleted Scenes
• Production Diaries
“Tomorrowland” is not a perfect film, but the scope of the imagination and the unpredictability was very refreshing. The family oriented action was nice to see, in a sea of hardcore action movies. The complete snubbing by critics in the theater has been a bit harsh, as I certainly had fun, as long as I accepted the obvious flaws in the film’s psychology. Audio and video wise, this release is just stunning, and even the extras are pretty good by modern standards. Definitely worth watching.
Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy
Directed by: Brad Bird
Written by: Brad Bird, Damon Lindelof
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 7.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 130 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 13th 2015
Buy Tomorrownland Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Give it a Watch
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