The Movie Guy: A Better Future Lives in “Tomorrowland”

“Tomorrowland”

Buena Vista

Directed by Brad Bird

Starring Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie and Tim McGraw

Rated PG

3 Stars

 

Much like the theme park upon which it is based, the new movie “Tomorrowland” can be a bit overwhelming at times, but if you are willing to wait for it to get rolling, the film turns out to be a pretty good cinematic ride.

The movie begins with two narrators trying to tell us a story. It turns out that Tomorrowland is an actual place; a futuristic city in another dimension where dreamers and inventors are free to create a shining future of possibility. It’s like something out of “The Jetsons,” where flying cars and floating swimming pools are a matter of everyday life.

The problem is that our two narrators, Frank (George Clooney) and Casey (Britt Robertson) are stuck in the real world. The movie becomes a journey to get our heroes back to Tomorrowland, both physically and emotionally. Casey is the pert and optimistic dreamer who can’t wait to return while Frank is the world-weary realist who needs a kick in the pants to get his emotional journey moving.

Director Brad Bird seems to be primarily interested in Frank’s emotional journey. In the wake of a the recent stream of YA dystopian thrillers that fill our theaters every few weeks, Bird has created a movie that sees the future as something positive, where all of our dreams can come true thanks to science and people who never stop dreaming about a better tomorrow.

That’s certainly a laudable sentiment, although there is a bit of preachiness behind this message. Still, credit the man for giving us a summer blockbuster that is filled with great visual images, nice action set pieces and that uplifting message of hope. You leave the movie with a spring in your step, optimistic about the future despite climate change, tensions in the Middle East and all the other problems facing humanity.

Those of you who would prefer a simple bit of summer movie escapism, don’t worry, “Tomorrowland” has you covered there as well. Bird was an animator before he moved into live action movies, so he’s very good at painting cinematic canvases where anything is possible. That child-like sense of wonder makes “Tomorrowland” worth the ticket price alone, even if it does take a bit of time to finally get going.

Think of that as the line before the ride starts. It’s a bit of an annoyance, but quickly forgotten when you’re strapped in for a cinematic ride that will leave you and your children dreaming about a gleaming future filled with hope and possibility.

 

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and KBTV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.com.

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