Movie Review: Tomorrowland

Disney creates the theme park, and one area is named for notions of the future.

Vast numbers of young people assemble in minimal clothing and dance to electronic music played at maximum volume

Two young people in different eras get drawn into a paelofuturistic mystery and, predictably, learn the fate of the world is at stake.

Cast and Crew

Director: Brad Bird
Writers: Brad Bird, Damon Lindelof, and Jeff Jensen

George Clooney as Frank Walker
Britt Robertson as Casey Newton
Raffey Cassidy as Athena
Hugh Laurie as Nix
Tim McGraw as Eddie Newton
Kathryn Hahn as Ursula
Keegan-Michael Key as Hugo Gernsback
Chris Bauer as Frank’s Dad
Thomas Robinson as Young Frank Walker
Pierce Gagnon as Nate Newton
Matthew MacCaull as Dave Clark
Judy Greer as Mom
Shiloh Nelson as Young Casey Newton


In 1964, a young inventor meets a mysterious girl and gets drawn into a mysterious other world while visiting the World’s Fair.

In the present, a bright but rebellious teen encounters the same young girl, and must contact the old, embittered man the 1964 boy became, in order to solve a mystery and save the world.

High Point

If you enjoy visions of futures past, Hugo Gernsback and World’s Fairs and sundry other Worlds of Tomorrow, you will see them realized wonderfully in this film. And despite its intended themes and complicated backstory, the film works best as a thrill ride, where you don’t think too hard. As a bonus, it has been crammed with Easter Eggs, not a few of them in-house-of-mouse references.

Low Points

The script is a mess. The add-on prologue helps establish the chemistry between two of the characters, but it adds needlessly to the confusion, dampens the suspense, and spoils George Clooney’s reveal.

Beyond the prologue, we have too many pretty pictures and too little plot. I don’t mind that the villain’s minions are ray-gun fodder (literal disposable robots), but the villain himself remains underdeveloped and we learn his motives in a cursory and confusing manner.

The Review

Originality: 4/6

Effects: 6/6 The effects are the one reason to see this film on the big screen.

Story 3/6 To give you an idea of how this movie has been constructed—it’s not enough the big escape feature an interesting technological gimmick. It treats us to a bi-tech booby-trapped house, a flying bathtub, a teleporter, an embedded Coca-Cola commercial, a retro-rocketship hidden in plain sight, and a portal. But when it comes to developing the villain or explaining the very complex (for a movie kids will see) backstory, the film falters.

Acting: 5/6 I particularly appreciate that two very young actors, Robertson and Cassidy, must play opposite the experienced Clooney. They more than hold their own.

Production 6/6 The movie combines a mix of styles, each done effectively.

Emotional Response: 4/6 The film is a visual treat for fans of retro and paleo-futurism. Even forgiving some of the excesses of action sequence and theme (it is a family movie, of a sort) it does not entirely work.

Overall: 4/6

In total, Tomorrowland receives 32/42.