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Tomorrowland: Movie Review

Chris Carpenter


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At first glance, it would seem the new movie Tomorrowland has all the makings of a summer blockbuster. It's all there…dazzling futuristic eye candy, the venerable Academy Award-winning George Clooney, and enough Disney magic/nostalgia to keep young and old alike buzzing about their cinematic experience for weeks. But for all that the movie has to offer something gets lost between the trailer and the big screen. None of these bright, shiny parts seem to fit together, subsequently leaving moviegoers disappointed.


Frank Walker (Clooney, Gravity), a former boy-genius and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson, The Longest Ride), a disillusioned teenager, are brought together by fate to change the world and themselves forever. The only problem is that they are complete strangers with no desire to help each other. Frank has become a recluse, living in an ivy-shrouded, ramshackle house, complete with a holographic dog (his creation) to scare intruders from his property. Casey is brimming with dreams and scientific curiosity but has become a cantankerous foil to her own family, especially her father (Tim McGraw, The Blind Side), a NASA engineer.

Their partnership is brokered by a mysteriously relentless 12-year-old (Raffey Cassidy, Snow White and the Huntsman). She forces this unlikely pair to embark on a dangerous mission to reveal the secrets of "Tomorrowland", a mythical place where personal jet packs, transformer-esque robots, and flying pod-like cars are the rule not the exception.

Their journey forces Frank and Casey to reconsider who they are and what their purpose is in life, thus unleashing the power of their dreams.

THE GOOD AND BAD IN Tomorrowland

The visual grandeur of imagination is on full display in Tomorrowland. From the grounds of an authentic looking 1964 World's Fair to Frank's booby trapped house to a rocket launched from beneath the Eiffel Tower, director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) spares no expense in creating a marvelous spectacle worthy of summer blockbuster status.

Disney fans will be thrilled with the inclusion of the "It's a Small World" ride into a pivotal early scene of the movie. In addition, through the aid of current technology, the futuristic city of Tomorrowland seems to come alive on screen, leaving viewers to ponder if this is what Walt Disney actually envisioned when Disneyland was conceived in the early 1950s. Production designer Scott Chambliss and cinematographer Claudio Miranda have done well to create a retro-future look.

You can't fault a movie that promotes themes like never giving up on yourself or having the courage to dream big for what you want out of life. Despite a sometimes-convoluted script, Bird does a commendable job of preaching these concepts through the determination of Casey's character.

As the marquee attraction, it is puzzling that the miscast Clooney doesn't really become a central figure in the movie until more than an hour has elapsed. Tomorrowland seems to be nothing more than a paycheck movie for the former Academy Award winner (Argo, Syriana), as he trudges along for what is supposed to be a non-stop thrill ride.

Twenty-four years old in real life, Robertson does a commendable job in her role as the questioning teenage genius but one can't help but wonder if she might be a shade too old for the role.

How this movie was able to receive a PG rating is difficult to understand. Tomorrowland's 107 minutes is filled with intense high-speed chase scenes, perilous explosions, and graphic violence involving not one but two decapitations. Apparently, if there's not a lot of blood, and the violent acts are being performed by robots with distorted faces, that makes everything A-Okay. It doesn't help matters when the robots sole intention is to kill Frank and Casey.


Visually spectacular with some very positive themes, Tomorrowland sadly falls short in its pursuit to be the family mega-hit of the summer. It seems to have enough going for it but something gets lost between the murderous robots, an uninspiring performance from Clooney, and uneven pacing that sometimes leaves you checking your watch.

A scene early in the movie crystallizes Tomorrowland very well. In it an exasperated Frank blurts out, "Can't you just be impressed and move on?"

Sadly, no.

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About The Author


Chris Carpenter is the program director for, the official website of the Christian Broadcasting Network. He also serves as executive producer for myCBN Weekend, an Internet exclusive webcast show seen on In addition to his regular duties, Chris writes extensively for the website. Over the years, he has interviewed many notable entertainers, athletes, and politicians including Oscar winners Matthew McConaughy and Reese Witherspoon, evangelist Franklin Graham, author Max Lucado, Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and former presidential hopefuls Sen. Rick Santorum and Gov. Mike