MOVIE REVIEW: Tomorrowland

tomorrowland-movieIf it’d been up to me, I might have passed on seeing it. Tomorrowland was beset by middling reviews.

Worse, the (not unusual) manipulation of the Disney audience to see the film was quite impressive but really irritating. “Get your backstage pass” to this great film, the network promotion machine hawked on several programs The Daughter watches.

Its box office (relative) failure – as of June 14, 2015, domestic box office of $83,607,000 and foreign box office of $93,500,000, against a production budget of $190 million – put the kibosh on more Disney science fiction.

Still, The Wife, The Daughter, her friend Kay and I went on a hot Sunday afternoon to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany.  The movie was down to two showings a day, and rightly so; there was only one other person in the theater, a middle-aged woman.

If I say I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would, it’d be damning with faint praise. In fact, I did like good chunks of it.

For one thing, the film looked really cool, a function, I assume, of director and co-writer Brad Bird, best known for fine animated films such as Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and The Iron Giant. The 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, which I attended, is where a boy named Frank (Thomas Robinson), a would-be inventor, gets invited by Athena (Raffey Cassidy) to be a part of the REAL title place.

Sometime later, teenager Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), a saboteur for good, ends up with a button that seems to, briefly, provide a gateway aid fabulous-looking place… oh, heck, read the narrative HERE.

I liked that this movie was attempting to be an antidote to all the dystopian rhetoric that does seem to dominate popular culture. Perhaps the best part of the narrative may be a speech by Nix (Hugh Laurie, of the TV show House, MD) in the latter stages of the film.

It asked some important questions, more than occasionally in a ham-fisted way, such as none of the teachers answering Casey’s questions about the issues they’ve laid out. Still, the Daughter was inspired by Casey, who almost never gave up, and who even inspired the much older Frank (George Clooney) to keep trying as well.

The actors, including Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key as the shopkeepers, were entertaining, and especially young Raffey Cassidy. It is true, though, that Britt Robertson, in the middle stages of the film, looked a lot like someone attempting to react to a blue screen.

If the story didn’t make complete sense, generally blamed on cowriter Damon Lindelof, the showrunner for the TV program Lost, I wasn’t as bothered by it as some. It was more coherent than the first two hours of Interstellar, which may be a low bar.

I’m musing over the complete, and therefore bloodless, annihilation of some people in this film, not to mention the intense fighting with the bad guys, which really warranted a PG rating, as opposed to a PG-13. Maybe I’m just overthinking this.

Anyway, it’s not a great film, clearly. Still, parts of it will likely stick with me, so it wasn’t a waste of time.

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