Written by Sue Nowicki
Welcome to my first foray into the world of movie reviews. I am so excited to share my love of movies with MouseQuest readers. To let you know a little about my movie fandom you should know I have a very eclectic taste in movies. At any time you could find me watching a classic Disney animated feature, a 60’s beach movie, a John Wayne western, a sports movie or a sweeping musical. Some of my favorites include ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Field of Dreams’, ‘Mulan’, ‘The Cowboys’, ‘Imitation of Life’ and ‘White Christmas’. As you can see I lean towards movies which strike an emotional chord with viewers whether it be a tug on the heart-strings or a rolling belly laugh. I also like to see character growth from the start of the movie to the end. I am not talking about just solving whatever problem they are presented… I am talking about honest to goodness growth were we leave them a better person, more enriched, more educated, more enlightened than we found them.
I will be honest from the get-go and say that I am not an expert of the technical side of movie making. Therefore, unless there are lighting, sound or cinematography issues which detract from, or add to, the movement of the story then I likely will not comment on it.
I will grade on a Mickey scale. Here is how my scale will flow:
RUNNING LENGTH: 2h 10 min
MAIN CAST: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy
SYNOPSIS: Frank Walker (Clooney) is an exiled inventor who is jolted out of his life of isolation by Casey Newton (Robertson). She is in search of the elusive Tomorrowland which she may or may not have already seen. She can’t be sure if it was a dream or reality. Frank is her last ditch effort to get back to this fantastical land where musicians, scientists, astronomers, engineers, dancers, mathematicians and artists guide the future of the world with their ability to dream.
‘Tomorrowland’ stars Oscar-award winning actor George Clooney as Frank Walker, an inventor who spent his youth in a society which rewards curiosity and innovation. After being exiled from that community as an adult, he becomes quite the curmudgeon, which Clooney plays to perfection, locked up in his house tinkering with his inventions.
Juxtaposed to Clooney’s grumpy character is Britt Robertson who plays the character of Casey Newton. Casey, the daughter of a NASA scientist, is an optimist who views the world with innocence and wide-eyed wonder. When confronted with doomsday predictions of the fate of humanity she often asks, “What can we do the change it?” Refreshing, yes?
This sci/fi, fantasy, action, adventure feature begins at the end with Walker and Newton arguing about how to tell the story of their shared experience. From scene one you can feel the bond these two characters have as a combination of mentor/mentee, father/daughter, inventor/apprentice and teacher/student, even as Walker initially attempts to push Newton away before begrudgingly agreeing (with angry robots chasing them down) to take Newton to Tomorrowland.
Two other standout performances in ‘Tomorrowland’ were those of Hugh Laurie as David Nix and Raffey Cassidy as the tweenage robot, Athena. Regarding Cassidy, not many young actors can hold their own with the likes of Clooney and Laurie but Cassidy does it with style. Be on the lookout for this up-and-comer because she is a future star. Laurie, for whom I have enjoyed his sarcastic acting style since he was ‘House’, doesn’t disappoint in the role of the bad guy… or is he just jaded? For a generation he has watched society wallow in despair and seemingly enjoy it therefore doing nothing to prevent their own demise. Laurie’s monologue, where his character struggles with the dichotomy of a society which, among other things, has an epidemic of obesity while also dealing with devastating starvation, offers the best line in the movie which sums it up to a T, “In every moment there in the possibility of a better future.”
Now before you even see this movie you should know that it is so much more than a story about an inventor and a teenage girl. This movie will make you question your whole outlook on society and the future. You will leave asking yourself: Do you believe you can change the future? What can you do right now to make a better tomorrow? It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe it’s as simple as just believing ‘there is a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day’.
While you do not need to be a fan of the Disney parks to truly enjoy this movie and believe in its message, you will find some great moments which only a true Disney parks fan will appreciate. (And if you listen real close you might even hear a couple of those familiar ear worms from the parks.) Also, as a true Disney fan, you will get a greater appreciation for the film in its celebration of Walt Disney’s vision of thinking, believing, dreaming and daring. Either way this movie is about optimism, a universal concept most adults understand even if they can’t employ it as Frank can’t at the beginning of the story. That’s why as the movie draws to a close we find that they have tapped the most optimistic people in the world to find the dreamers who will sustain Tomorrowland, and the future’s, existence… kids. Who is more optimistic that a child?
I would recommend this movie for Disney-aholic and curmudgeons alike. In this day and age everyone can use a healthy dose of optimism.
Cautions for the littles: There are a few minor swear words in this movie. The main offender is H-E-Double Hockey Sticks which admittedly is on the low end of the ‘swear scale’. There are also quite a few anxious moments in this movie that the littles might find frightful. For example, there is a scene where one of the characters is falling through space. There are some very tense moments as this character scrambles to right himself before hitting the ground. There are also some fight scenes which get quite intense with shooting and the ‘death’ of some robots.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Over the next few days we will post updates from Gayle Turner’s trip to the #TomorrowlandEvent where she was given the enviable task of interviewing the stars of ‘Tomorrowland’ to give you insight into what it took to create and bring this vision to the big screen. Check back tomorrow for Gayle’s first installment.
Sue Nowicki splits her time between planning her next Walt Disney World vacation and being team mom to ten high-energy volleyball players where she fills the roles of secretary, navigator, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist. You can follow her on Twitter @JazzinDisneyMom.
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