Director: Brad Bird
Cast: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy
George Clooney in 'Tomorrowland'. Courtesy YouTube
A 'mystery box' is a concept that was first created by the team of JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof in the hit series 'Lost'. The strategy is to tease audiences with minimal plot point, and reveal something fun and amazing when they watch the film or the series. Since 'Lost' there have been plenty of such attempts, like 'Cloverfield' and 'Super 8' – and the results are hit or miss. Some who've been driven crazy by the lack of plot details are entertained by the 'reveal' of the film, some are left disappointed because they expect something epic and the film delivers something familiar.
The latter is the case with the new film 'Tomorrowland' – a film directed by Brad Bird and written by Lindelof. When it was first announced the only plot detail released to audiences was that a brilliant scientist, a teenage girl and a girl robot band together in a mission to save an otherworldly place called Tomorrowland. Two years later, now that the film is released it's a bit disappointing to know that that's all the film is about. The mystery box has been opened and there's nothing inside it.
In this case the girl is Casey (played by Britt Robertson), who is 'chosen' by a strange little girl to get a glimpse of a place called Tomorrowland, a futuristic version of the Earth. Much to Casey's shock, (and less to the audience's), Tomorrowland doesn't turn out to be the dreamlike place, and a more sinister machination is at play. The little girl turns out to be a robot, and the two of them team up with a reclusive scientist (George Clooney) to thwart a global conspiracy that ends the world.
If you think that sounds familiar you're not the only one. A lot of things in the movie are clichéd to the hilt. Despite being a Brad Bird film, 'Tomorrowland' restricts itself to being a run of the mill Disney movie with easy plot points. The film looks gorgeous, of course, and kudos to Disney for presenting the film in 2D rather than 3D. There is a sequence where Casey first lands in Tomorrowland – it's rendered in one huge single take and it's absolutely glorious. The sense of wonder and mystery are rendered to perfection, no doubt because of Bird's direction. The film is also fast paced, and there's a fair amount of action as well so it's never boring as such. It's just that there's nothing beyond the surface, and that's a major step down from a filmmaker who brought us 'Ratatouille' and 'The Incredibles'.
Watch the trailer of 'Tomorrowland'