Tomorrowland Blu-ray Review
TOMORROWLAND is the most ambitious movie of 2015, but because of that, it’s the most disappointing movie of 2015. Seeing Brad Bird’s name just brings about hopes and joys of something magical. If you aren’t sure who he is off the top of your head, he is the genius behind the touching IRON GIANT animated movie and one of Pixar’s best movies, THE INCREDIBLES. If kid’s movies aren’t your cup of tea, he also directed one of the better MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies. He’s a man of many talents, but those talents didn’t come together for TOMORROWLAND.
TOMORROWLAND begins interestingly, and innocently, enough. Frank Walker (Clooney) tells an off-screen audience about his first encounter with David Nix (Laurie) and Athena (Raffey Cassidy). Frank, as a young boy, is at the 1964 World’s Fair, hoping to impress a panel of inventors, headed up by David, with his rocket jet pack. They yawn and shrug off the hopeful young Frank. Besides setting up the plot, the first 10 minutes of TOMORROWLAND are an advertisement for Disney. Everything seems ripped right out of the real-life theme park, their movies, and their unlimited amount of sponsorship partners like Coca-Cola.
After a series of events, including being given a small orange token with a big ‘T’, Frank finds himself in a futuristic world where his jet pack seems like the most unimpressive thing. We then leap forward 50 years into the future where we meet Casey Newton (Robertson). She’s another young genius that has a knack for science and gadgets. She’s arrested in an attempt to disrupt her dad’s work at NASA so that he can work a little while longer before he’s fired. As she leaves jail, she is given the same unique orange token with a big blue ‘T’ that is reminiscent of the one given to Frank five decades ago. Her touch instantaneously transports her to another world, Tomorrowland. That same world a young Frank found himself in.
As the plot progresses, we learn more about the mysterious Tomorrowland, and the movie does a good job of building up the mystery. Killer robots, end of the world mumbo jumbo, as well as Frank and Casey crossing paths thanks to a still young Athena helps build up puzzle. The only problem is that once the enigma is solved, it loses its magic immediately. It’s also frustrating when the length of the movie becomes very noticeable. We know that Frank and Casey will eventually have to go to the mysterious Tomorrowland, but we have to wait nearly an hour and a half. By the time we arrive, we want to leave.
The second biggest problem movie is its message. It plays like a cautionary tale about the future, with a nauseating liberal message that would make Bernie Sanders sick. The final straw is the alleged culprit of all our woes, according to this movie. TOMORROWLAND theorizes that humanity’s pessimistic view of the world is what will inevitably doom us all. Just that message alone almost dares me to hate this movie instead of simply disapproving of it.
For all the gorgeous shots, superb acting, and enterprising ideas, TOMORROWLAND is an enormous letdown. It feels like the beginning and the end were written at the same time with Brad Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof scratching their heads over how to journey from point A to point C. I want to go to the Tomorrowland that that Frank and Casey saw at the beginning, not the one I was shown. TOMORROWLAND captures my imagination, but mistreats it during containment.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:20:1) Just like most Disney blu-ray releases, the picture quality is astounding and is the best in the industry.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The lossless soundtrack booms with joy and the dialogue rings clearly like a bell. An all-around fantastic presentation.
Remembering the Future: A Personal Journey Through TOMORROWLAND with Brad Bird (7:09): Brad Bird quietly reflects over his personal trips to the amusement park that helped inspire this movie. He talks a little bit about the moral message of the movie.
Casting TOMORROWLAND (7:27): This feature talks about the actors and the characters they portray. The most interesting was Raffey Cassidy, who steals the movie out of veteran Clooney’s hands.
A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session (6:03): I loved the score for this movie, but not so much this feature. It feels more like a reflective piece by composer Michael Giacchino.
The World of Tomorrow Science Hour – Hosted by Futurologist David Nix (5:08): An alleged lost piece of outtakes from a 1965 educational program featuring the character, David Nix. Not funny, interesting, or worth of your time.
Animated Short: The Origins of Plus Ultra (3:26): Another piece that purports to be a lost piece of footage.A somewhat quick summary of one of the key plot points of TOMORROWLAND.
Brad Bird Production Diaries (3:33): This is a two part feature. Brad Bird guides viewers through two sets, the 1964 World’s Fair and Cape Canaveral.
Blast from the Past Commercial (0:41): An advertisement for the fictional store featured in the film.
Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions: This feature is a collection of deleted scenes that are prefaced with Brad Bird explaining why they were ultimately cut. I actually like listening to reasoning behind why a scene was cut, especially when one of the scene highlights a different tone for one of the characters.