How do you push the message of global warming and the destruction of the earth to a world that is for the most part unsure and still sitting on the fence? Quite simply, if we knew the answer it wouldn’t be the topic of this discussion.
Yet it is the topic, and it’s the topic for 130 minutes in Disney’s latest, Tomorrowland.
You wouldn’t have known Tomorrowland was a film about Global Warming brought down to a level a child could understand. The film was sold, or at least hinted as, a wonderful futuristic space traveling film. Yet there is so very much more to this film than meets they eye.
Taking the lead is the possibly over acted Casey Newton played by Britt Robertson who you might recognise from the TV series Under the Dome.
And it is Newton’s sole purpose in the film to save the world by travelling to Tomorrowland. This is all possible with the aid of the person who recruited her, Athena, played by Raffey Cassidy. Athena is an Audio-Animatronic droid, more easily identified as a robot with a human face.
But just in case an Audio-Animatronic droid wasn’t enough to make things work, the team needs Frank a dramatically under acted grumpy old man played by George Clooney. And it’s Frank who actually started the problem in the first place. Together the three of them very quickly and somewhat easily save the world.
Now visually the film explodes with colour and clarity. The futuristic landscapes and cities are so well constructed it almost seems real. This film also happens to be the first film to be released with Dolby Vision. Which seems to be the new branch of the famous Dolby Digital sound.
When a children’s film comes out; and this in Australia is a PG film, so suitable for people under the age of 15, there are a couple of things that must be considered. Is it going to keep your attention and are the terrible one-liners going to make your Dad laugh.
Making your Dad laugh would have been easier telling him about the time you called your teacher Mum than watching this film. The film lacked a great deal of personality. There was nothing relatable and there was nothing you could let yourself slide away and think you were actually in the film.
The characters were either over acted, or under acted to a point where you would start to think about how over or under acted the acting was. And it was this that took away from the possible reality of the film. The emotional connection was completely lost. They may as well have been looking down the camera, oh no that’s right they did.
Britt Robertson who leads the movie is this teenage girl who “knows things”, even more so than her NASA father. And she has this annoying character that seems to be what the world thinks all American teenagers are actually like. A teenager that is an outspoken, rule breaking and an overachiever that has really strong family values. Her take on the character and what she actually played didn’t quite match. It was more of an annoying drama student who’s mother always told her she was an amazing actress when in actual fact, being type cast will be her only savior.
George Clooney on the other hand, who has the possibility when pushed, can deliver outstanding performances of which we see glimpses of in The Descendants. Otherwise every character he plays including his role in this film is almost the same as, George Clooney.
But let’s look at what this film was really about. This film was a somewhat homage to the late Walk Disney who had this radical idea to build a city. In this city Disney had the idea the American corporation leaders would come together and come up with solutions to the growing limitations on urban living.
EPCOT, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was the name Disney gave his idea. But with his death, the Disney board was skeptical and instead of a community to help fix the future and the problems it might face, they build Walt Disney World.
Now all of these downfalls could be at the hand of what was and still could be an amazing Director, Brad Bird. The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol and a series of the Simpsons are just a couple of the hits under his belt. But it seems his belt ran out of holes and while all the intentions to homage Walt Disney were inherent, it’s time for a new belt.
Overall the film was visually appealing. Having the Eiffel Tower break in half and a rocket burst out from beneath it was rather fun. However things like the questionable acting and lack of emotional connection, the film lost a lot of character.
And for something that ended up being a clear pitch to the younger generation about global warming, this film had all the wrong intentions. Which is a shame when the concept and ideas are something that could have been truly something of tomorrow.
Review by Jay Cook
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