Movie Review: Tomorrowland
When I set this site up, I didn't really expect it to be a point of pop culture and media saturation, but looking at all my "Have You Met...? Monday" posts (and don't worry, I haven't forgotten about those, I've just been highly distracted lately), I suppose that really is a huge chunk of my developmental process. But reviews... well, I seem to have missed doing those for the other various films and television shows I've been watching of late, but then "Tomorrowland" came along and made me ponder it.
When I first heard about this movie, I'll confess, I totally rolled my eyes. (Literally, I'm pretty sure I did, which is weird since I am pretty sure I heard about it online. But I digress.) A whole movie based not even on just a Disneyland ride, but a whole section of their park? Oh come on, guys. What happened to originality? New ideas? Something maybe not so blatantly commercial in origin? Would Walt have supported this? And did you even think about... wait, what? Brad Bird is directing it? The man who brought us "Iron Giant" and "The Incredibles"? Oh. Well. Um. Okay, fine, but I'm not going to see it in the theater, I'm going to wait until it's on BluRay.... ooooohhh... wait, that's an awesome trailer. Um. Okay. Damn it. Fine. I'll see it in the theater, but I'm not, I repeat NOT, getting my expectations up.
So we saw it, and we loved it.
Now, confession here - I'm a big Disney nerd. We've been to both US parks multiple times, and own copies of most of their films, and so on. I used to watch the sunday night TV show when I was kid, watched the Mouseketeers show ("Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!") even had a bit of a crush on Annette Funiccello (who didn't?) and on and on and on. So it's probably evident that I'm really easily within their target audience for a film like this, I'll put that right out there. That being said, here are my thoughts on the film, and I'll keep it as spoiler free as possible.
I've been asked a few times what the movie is even about (is it weird that I wanted to see this before I even knew the answer to that question? Probably.) - my answer, now that I've seen it and thought about it, would be this: it's a love story set beside a race to save the world.
But it's also a movie with a profound message, one that I won't blatantly share here, because I think it works best within the structure of the movie itself.
What I will say is this; it's a movie about hope. There aren't really a lot of films that can say that, and certainly not so-called "disaster movies", but this one was just as much as I could have wanted it to be. It's not about having blind hope - the kind where you just sit there amid the ruins of your world and say "gosh, I really hope things won't get any worse," but more one of "I am going to do THIS THING and hope that the results are fantastic!" It's about looking towards the light and not just at the shadows that it casts. It's about taking that sweet, deep breath before the plunge. It's about closing your eyes before taking that leap from the lion's mouth, so that you'll know your worth. It's about boldly going.
It's not just thinking happy thoughts and holding out for the pixie dust, either. It's about knowing the way may be hard, but in the end it will be very much worth it.
From a story construction perspective, I'd have to say I had a few itches about the final scene. I'm kind of tired of the bad guy always being an unrepentant ass, and wish movie studios recognized that the worst punishment is to be forced to stick around and see how wrong you were. Few villains are ever that nonredeemable, and to be perfectly honest, I find that there are already plenty of people who are so resolved to their way of thinking that can't be shown a better path to getting what they want. But maybe that's just me. I don't like writing characters like that.
And speaking of which, I should wrap this up. I've got a final act of my own to write, filled with unrepentant villains who may or may not turn from their paths of destruction.
To summarize - go give "Tomorrowland" a view. Along with "V For Vendetta", I find it a well crafted and beautiful look at the future, and an exploration of social evolution and revolution.
Unlike V, though, this one presents the material with a spoonful of sugar. And sometimes, that really does help the medicine go down.