These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
Won’t lie, I didn’t exactly have the highest of expectations when I heard that this movie, based on A SECTION OF DISNEYLAND, was getting made. Of course, then I heard Damon Lindelof (wrote LOST – TV series) was working on the story and screenplay with Brad Bird (directed and wrote THE INCREDIBLES and RATATOUILLE, and directed MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL) and then those low expectations skyrocketed. The first trailer really gripped my attention and the second sealed the deal. Then I learned that Hugh Laurie (HOUSE M.D. – TV show) was in the movie, this was shaping up to be a real hit. Saw an employee screening at work and I was pretty excited.
Starring: Britt Robertson (THE SPACE BETWEEN US , SCREAM 4 , and DAN IN REAL LIFE ), George Clooney (MONEY MONSTER , MICHAEL CLAYTON , and BATMAN & ROBIN ), and Raffey Cassidy (THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER , ALLIED , and DARK SHADOWS )
Support: Hugh Laurie (ARTHUR CHRISTMAS , FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX , SPICE WORLD , and the upcoming HOLMES AND WATSON ), Tim McGraw (THE SHACK , COUNTRY STRONG , and THE KINGDOM ), Kathryn Hahn (CAPTAIN FANTASTIC , WANDERLUST , THE LAST MIMZY , and the upcoming A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS ), Keegan-Michael Key (WHY HIM? , WANDERLUST , ROLE MODELS , and upcoming films THE STAR  and THE PREDATOR ), and Judy Greer (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES , MARMADUKE , WHAT WOMEN WANT , and upcoming films ANT-MAN AND THE WASP  and HALLOWEEN )
Director: Brad Bird (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL , RATATOUILLE , THE IRON GIANT , and upcoming films INCREDIBLES 2  and 1906, no release date announced). Writers: Damon Lindelof (WORLD WAR Z , PROMETHEUS , COWBOYS & ALIENS , and the upcoming TV show WATCHMEN ) and Brad Bird (RATATOUILLE, THE INCREDIBLES , THE IRON GIANT, and upcoming films INCREDIBLES 2 and 1906). Composer: Michael Giacchino (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, INSIDE OUT , SUPER 8 , and upcoming films COCO  and JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM ). Cinematographer: Claudio Miranda (OBLIVION , TRON: LEGACY , FAILURE TO LAUNCH , and upcoming films ONLY THE BRAVE  and 100 YEARS )
(STORY) – SPOILERS AHEAD
The story follows Casey Newton (Britt Robertson). She’s a brilliant teen girl with an incredible penchant for not giving up. Her dad, Eddie Newton (Tim McGraw), is a NASA engineer, but the platform he works at is being dismantled and Casey is trying really hard to disrupt its deconstruction, though her dad isn’t aware of that. For good reason, as it’s VERY illegal. Unfortunately, she gets caught and goes to jail. She quickly gets bailed out by her father, but something weird happens when her things are returned to her. A strange looking pin that upon, touching it, she is instantaneously teleported to a whole new dimension. And upon immediately letting go of the pin, she’s just as instantaneously teleported back to her own world, though it appears to the outside world that she hadn’t gone anywhere and that she’s just acting crazy. Not to mention this pin’s feature only seems to work for her, as when her father touches it, there’s nothing. Incapable of getting this beautiful world out of her mind, she touches the pin again and explores the world in more detail; a world of futuristic technology and a peaceful and prosperous city. Everything is wonderous and amazing. However, the pin is on a timer and runs out before she can get to the truly amazing stuff. Investigating the pin’s origins, she discovers that someone is looking for it. She sneaks off to discover what this buyer knows about it. Turns out, this buyer isn’t the only person looking for the pin. A little girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy) seeks both the pin and very specifically Casey. Casey arrives to find out that the buyers are evil robots intent on killing Casey for the pin and information regarding Athena, whom Casey hasn’t met yet and don’t believe her when she mentions that tid bit of information. Luckily, Athena rushes in and saves Casey’s life and destroys the robots, soon revealing that Athena herself is a robot and wants nothing more than Casey to continue pursuing the world she saw. But time is of the essence as more robots are revealed to be around and still seek the pin and Athena. Obviously, something’s not right, seeing as both the homicidal robots and Athena are from that world, and Athena hints that something bad happened there and if Casey is to reach Tomorrowland, then she’s going to need help. That help comes in the form of Frank Walker (George Clooney). Frank was once a child genius who had invented a jetpack, albiet a flawed one that didn’t quite work. Athena invited Frank to Tomorrowland and stayed for a good long time, losing himself to invention and wonder, until one day he was kicked out. There’s even a hint of young Frank falling in love with Athena, but he ends up outraged when he finds out that she was a robot; information that he wasn’t privvy to before. Over the course of the last few decades, Frank’s been in isolation, continuing to tinker with inventions, even creating a machine that predicts the exact time and day that the world will end and doesn’t believe it can be avoided. Frank is now a bitter, even hostile man. Enter Casey. Athena has ditched the girl on the side of the road right next to Frank’s house and Casey is left to basically deal with him. Frank is incredibly reluctant at first, but the reinforcements of murderous robots appear and Frank is forced to protect Casey. Reunited with Athena, they must now hitch a ride to Tomorrowland, believing that Casey can save both Tomorrowland and Earth. Upon arrival, via a rocket ship, Tomorrowland isn’t what Casey was led to believe. It’s empty, lifeless, practically a desolate wasteland. Sure, the skyscrapping buildings are standing and looks fantastical enough, but there’s nothing there. No one there. But things take a turn when the mayor of Tomorrowland, Nix (Hugh Laurie), whom was established as a particular dick toward Frank when he first arrived in Tomorrowland, is also revealed to be the reason why Earth is about to end, and now the three companions must stop him. Chaos and fighting ensues, Athena sacrifices herself to stop the countdown that will destroy Earth, Nix dies, and Tomorrowland rebuilds its former glory with the need for new creative thinkers and dreamers alike.
I am incredibly divided on this movie. On the one hand, it does SO much right, but on the other, so much goes wrong as well.
Let’s start with the pros. This movie is beyond visually captivating when it comes to Tomorrowland itself. The pin is an invitation to those who are chosen to come to Tomorrowland and gives them a promise to be a part of something great and will fuel their imagination and curiosity. When Casey is exploring her invitation, we are given a front row seat to a vast, immersive world where technology is everywhere. It’s whimsical and just plain fun. As Casey explores everything and shows her excitement and wonder, we can’t help but get caught up in this as well. It is so incredibly well-shot, this is just pure Disney magic at its best. We even feel just as frustrated as Casey when her pin’s timer goes 0 and she’s booted out of the fake Tomorrowland. No, bitch, I wanna go on the rocket that will take me to my destiny!!! That moment is quite hilarious, and says something about a movie that can make an audience feel that way. You can just tell the art and prop department went wild and crazy with their designs and it shines like a beacon of fun and excitement. Can I also give a shout out to the performances in this movie as well? Robertson as Casey is pure energy and is a terrific presence on screen. This might also be my favorite role by Clooney. He basically plays every over-the-top role he’s ever done, but like Brad Pitt who always plays Brad Pitt in his movies, but makes it work for him in FIGHT CLUB, Clooney does the same here in TOMORROWLAND. He’s big, he’s funny, he’s just so much fun to watch and really makes you wonder about why he is the way he is. Also, a big shout out to the talented young Raffey Cassidy. While her intro to her powers and abilities is at first off-putting and a little too bizarre, once you find out the how and why, you quickly accept her role as a sort of protector and guide for Casey. Cassidy’s portrayal is oozing with layers and subtlty that I am very eager to see what her career will be like in the future and hope she continues to take solid work that showcases her talent like this.
And now the cons. While the movie is brilliant in teasing us about Tomorrowland as a whole, the story goes a little too fast-paced to clearly get a grasp of what is really going on. When the movie should have taken a moment to catch its breath and help the audience understand why these robots and why this and that guy are doing this and that, the explanations that are given are driven right on through and I couldn’t quite catch up. At its most crucial points where the audience needs to understand what is happening, the movie doesn’t take its time to easily explain, possibly requiring a second viewing to fully comprehend the rhymes and reasons. Also, the film is titled “TOMORROWLAND,” yet we only get glimpses of the actual world of Tomorrowland itself. Granted, they are spectacular glimpses, but dear god the movie is anchored to the real world. We only get glimpses of technology, which isn’t always bad, don’t get me wrong, but we came here to see a futuristic world to get lost in. Not the garden-less front yard of an unknown Texas house, though the hologram dog was pretty f**kin’ amazing. But where the movie loses me is how this technology manages to get here to Earth at all. I might be more inclined to let that go, but, get a load of this:
Remember how Casey, Frank, and Athena reach Tomorrowland by hitching a ride via a rocket ship? Wanna know where that rocket ship came from? Underneath the Eiffel Tower… which neatly splits apart like a STAR WARS landing platform and a rocket comes out from the ground. How does that fucking work?! Even that’s explained in a half-assed way. Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and two other scientists of that era, built this rocket. Let me say that again. EDISON AND TESLA INVENTED A SPACE ROCKET!!! …. Movie, dear sweet movie, at that time in history, we hadn’t even invented the first airplane. About ten years away from it in fact. But you expect me to believe that Edison and Tesla invented a ROCKET THAT GOES INTO SPACE, SUCCESSFULLY, AND CAN PERFORM TRANS-DIMENSIONAL TRAVEL, AGAIN, SUCCESSFULLY?????? Uh… nope.
Overall, characters are well-conceived, it’s masterfully shot, and captivates your imagination. Tomorrowland, via the pin’s invitation, is an incredible world radiating with glee and majesty, begging to be expanded. But we don’t get that for a majority of the movie despite how great the in-world technology and action scenes look. The actors’ performances hold up the movie for the most part, but the story is not kind to the audience when crucial information is glazed over, treating it like unimportant exposition. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see it a second time, it’s worth seeing even once. It might be easy enough to lose yourself in this potentially wonderful world that Lindelof and Bird have created, but one cannot deny the problems that bog this movie down from being truly great.
My honest rating for TOMORROWLAND: a strong 3/5