Earlier this week I watched an advanced screening of Tomorrowland starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson.
Most of you are Disney fans if not downright fanatics. I know this movie is high on your radar for summer entertainment.
I’d read snippets online about this movie and will honestly say I was concerned it would not be a good one. Things I saw suggested an overblown and over-dramatic film of little substance. I read that it just didn’t have the wow factor needed for a Disney summer blockbuster. I read that the performances were sub par.
If you’ve read these things too you’ll want to read my review before you go.
I guess those other reviewers and I saw totally different movies because I really liked this movie.
Or maybe my Walt Disney infused “dreamers can-do” spirit colored my feelings on the film.
I’ll admit there’s probably some of that. But certainly not enough for me to walk away with #AllTheFeelings at the end of this movie like I did.
Two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird directs this mystery adventure. We meet a former boy genius named Frank (Clooney). He’s clearly disillusioned and possibly paranoid as he’s bunkered down in his New York home. Enter Casey (Robertson), a girl filled with hope and optimism (who also happens to be scientifically gifted) into his life. Frank is forced to take her on a journey somewhere in time and space known as “Tomorrowland” in the an attempt to change the world’s destiny.
Full disclosure: this movie had me at the opening logo of Disney Studios. You know how all Disney Studios films open with Cinderella’s castle? My daughter #OhLucy squeals in delight every time she sees it.
I, channeling my best #OhLucy moment, squealed in delight over the Tomorrowland version. And it just got better from there.
Soon we are transported to the 1964 World’s Fair with “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” playing in the background. Yes- my Disney-fied heart swelled a bit!
A young Frank brings his invention to the World’s Fair in the hopes of winning a $50 prize. He is shut down quickly as his jet-pack invention doesn’t quite work, but he meets a girl about his age named Athena, played by the delightful Raffey Cassidy.
She asks him to follow her and presses a mysterious “T” pin into his hand.
This is where Frank’s adventure takes off. He discovers the world of Tomorrowland that welcomes dreamers like him and makes a friend in Athena.
But all is not quite what it seems and eventually Frank is kicked out.
He loses hope and is trapped with some knowledge that seems absolute and devastating- until Casey arrives years later and changes his outlook on the future.
What I loved most about the movie: the three main characters.
The development matches the superb acting from all three. I’m not even a George Clooney fangirl (I still see George the handyman from Facts of Life!) but I thought he hit the right notes as a surely old guy daring to dream a little.
Luke, my 12-year-old son and date for the screening also enjoyed the movie.
He felt the ending was a little lame (it’s not– it’s sentimental, which to a tween boy equals lame) but otherwise also enjoyed the movie.
It had the right amount of action, science & things blowing up, with space travel & bad guys thrown in for good measure.
My only complaint is towards the end when things get a little messy and weird. It all works out, but not as smoothly as I prefer. Since the majority of the movie entertained and delighted I was able to forgive the convoluted wrap-up.
I have children ages 4-12 and I’d take all of them to this movie. There’s no sex, moderate violence (mostly robot-on-robot action) and a great message for everyone. My 4-year-old may not sit still for the movie, but if YOURS will, I don’t think you’d regret taking them as far as subject matter goes.
Tomorrowland opens May 22 (TODAY!) at theaters nationwide.
ps… to the runDisney friends out there, one word: COSTUMES. I see a lot of potential in this movie for Disney Bounding and races!
Are you a fan of vintage Disney? Will you be seeing Tomorrowland?
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.