This week from Walt Disney Pictures and director Brad Bird comes the anticipated look into “Tomorrowland.”
This film tells the story of Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), a very smart young woman who is trying to save a launch platform from destruction. Causing her father Eddie (Tim McGraw) a bit of trouble, she also is being watched by younger brother Nate (Pierce Gagnon).
When dad bails her out of the latest jam, Casey is given her belongings with something extra — a button she doesn’t recognize. When she picks it up, Casey is transported to a place she doesn’t recognize.
Slightly panicked, she begins researching the button, which leads her to a shop in Texas where Ursula (Kathryn Hahn) and Hugh (Keegan Key) turn the tables. She is immediately saved by Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a straightforward A.I. who tells Casey that she is special and can help.
But there is one more person in the mix, Frank Walker (George Clooney), who knows all about the button. Casey is dropped off (literally) and must get answers from Walker, but he isn’t about to give up his secrets easily.
After a scuffle, Walker knows that they must go to the place Casey has seen to try make things right, but there is one problem: Nix (Hugh Laurie). Between Walker and Casey, along with Athena, two worlds will be saved!
Robertson as Casey is a bright kid and there is no doubt about that. She is curious and takes no time in trying to get answers about the button. It is funny to watch her freak out in the truck with Athena. The banter between this character and Walker begins as funny, but starts to get a little hard to listen to after a while. I kept thinking, “Doesn’t her dad wonder where she is?” And at the end I thought, “He doesn’t look worried at all.” Maybe it’s just the mom in me.
Clooney as Walker is a grumpy man who made a mistake in his young years. The problem with his character is that it seems he is angry at Athena and harbored that anger, which is a little odd. I just couldn’t figure out a few things like: What did Walker do wrong? Why was he banned? And, uhhhh, she’s a robot dude!
Cassidy as Athena is probably the character I liked most. She played this role so very well and explained things with humor, whether that was intentional or not. I just enjoyed when she was on screen.
Laurie as Nix still has a little bit of “House” in him in the way he says things in the beginning of the film. Returning at the end of the film, his role was just not as clear to me. I was confused as to who he was and how he became the leader — yes, so many questions.
Key as Hugh was really funny, and the story made his character even funnier. Hahn as Ursula started out very cute and ended up not so much. McGraw’s role was small and that’s about it. Gagnon as brother Nate gets a few moments of screen time and that’s about it.
The cast also includes: Chris Bauer as dad, Matthew MacCaull as Dave Clark, Judy Greer as mom and Thomas Robinson as Young Frank Walker.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Tomorrowland” two and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Seriously, this film is a hot mess from start to finish. It is as if the writers started a thought and then forgot where they were going. I really wanted this to be good, but I can’t say with a straight face that it is.
It is so disjointed and hard to follow because any idea is never taken to its full conclusions. There isn’t time to care about the characters, and when I did it felt — well, forced. It was as if I had to make myself pay attention, and it took everything I had to do just that.
By the end I was actually irritated that “Tomorrowland” felt the need to take our best and brightest to have their utopia. Or should I be irritated that we don’t recognize our best and brightest. I could go on, but I think “Tomorrowland” will slide away quietly into yesterdayland.
In the end — what they do can change the world!