Brad Bird is one of the best directors in Hollywood today. His filmography includes such classics as ‘The Iron Giant’ and ‘The Incredibles’ so it is unsurprising that fans of his held big expectations for ‘Tomorrowland’. Unfortunately, it seems Bird has stumbled for the first time on an uneven narrative that is weighed down by a clunky script and a strange, verging on campy, plot. That’s not to say ‘Tomorrowland’ is without its charms though so let’s start with the positives.
First off is Casey Newton, the protagonist of the film, who is likeable and relatable even with her over-the-top dialogue. When she finds a mysterious pin in amongst her belongings, she embarks on a journey of imagination to save the future of humanity. Britt Robertson portrays Casey really well for a lesser-known actor, going toe-to-toe with George Clooney’s Frank Walker character and coming off equal. While Robertson and Clooney use their acting talent to their best here, the supporting cast is limited by the weak script, especially Hugh Laurie’s one-dimensional villain.
There are also many confusing plot elements that aren’t very well explained and a lot of buildup in the first two acts lead to a disappointing, easy resolution. It should be mentioned that the script is largely written by Damon Lindelof, who is known for, among other things, ‘Lost’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’, and not by Bird but both filmmakers are responsible for the film’s shortcomings in some ways. While it is hard to break away from the negatives, the overall message of the story is uplifting and well-woven and personally, I found the cheesiness and camp quite charming in a B-movie kind of way, I just wish it wasn’t Brad Bird that made a film like this.
The steampunk/retro sci-fi tone the film is original in this age of dystopian blockbusters, which ‘Tomorrowland’ is designed to be a meta-commentary against, but it contributes to the cheese in buckets. This movie isn’t cheddar, it’s mozzarella; it’s oozing with cheese.
I wanted to like it more, but ultimately ‘Tomorrowland’ is a letdown that becomes less rewatchable the more its reflected upon. Quite a shame.
READ: Daniel’s Review