Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) receives a mysterious pin that allows her to travel to another dimension where a glorious future utopia is real. In her efforts to reach this wonderland, she comes across former inhabitants and helps to remove what plagues that world, and ours too.
Tomorrowland, I was reminded, is a part of the Disneyland theme parks. After the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, which was also based on a ride in Disneyland’s theme parks, people got the idea that there may be other parts of the theme park worth using for movies. Now, Pirates of the Caribbean basically wrote itself. Many of the scenes already existed as props with animated puppets in the ride, and they were just copied to the big screen. But tomorrowland is not a ride with a story, it is a quarter of the park with futuristic looking attractions and it embodies everything that is hopeful and exciting about the future.
As the film shows, it is harder to create a story out of it. In the film too, tomorrowland is some kind of future utopia that is hard to reach. But since it actually exists in the movie, we dive into a simplistic and naive story to explain its existence. In the movie, all scientists sort of conspired together to create the future of their dreams without the meddling of politicians and people without vision. This tomorrowland is in an another dimension and only those who are deemed “worthy” enough, meaning that they are optimistic and excited about the future and want to be an inventor, are granted access to this world. As I said, simple and naïve.
The basic drama of the plot is that the world is going to be destroyed because people stopped believing in the future and the wonder of technological inventiveness. Tomorrowland itself is almost abandoned and one of the reasons why people stopped believing, because negative thoughts are radiating from that dimension to our own. The fairy-tale like plot of course entails bright young inventors kicking out the grumpy people who let the place go to hell.
The film itself is mostly about trying to reach tomorrowland, rather than about the land itself. I didn’t mind this because it is a nice metaphor for the better future that we are trying to reach in the real world, but the trailer left people with the impression that there would be more of tomorrowland in the movie and that caused some disappointment.
The acting and the effects are both quite good. The star of the show is not George Clooney, although he gives a delightedly spirited performance, but the little Raffey Cassidy. Cassidy is an up and coming teenage star. In the film she portrays a little robot girl (Athena) with self-possession and purposefulness. She gives a very talented, mature performance and enlivens the movie with spirit and energy. The effects of tomorrowland are ok, but very clearly just computer-generated background stuff.
By now I have forgotten one of the main characters, Casey. This girl drives the plot by wanting to reach tomorrowland, but her character isn’t that interesting and lazily put together in the story. She’s supposed to be a talented engineer and excited about science and therefore “worthy” of entering utopia while the rest of humanity, we, are villainized as grumpy people and part of the problem. The movies shows that she is a genius by making her point to a loose screw in her father’s hobby project, and that she is an idealist by bothering those to try to shrink NASA. She is quickly overshadowed by George Clooney and Raffey Cassidy.
Overall, if you can forgive the movie’s naïve message, it is quite entertaining and consistently well shot with some good performances. In the end, it is the perfect movie to show your little 10-year old kids. The ideas of optimism, curiosity and inventiveness are meant for them. But if you are only a little bit older, you pop the soap bubble that is this film and the bright colors might fall away.