‘Tomorrowland’ offers dim picture of future

By Bob Bloom

In “Annie,” our spunky young heroine assures us that “the sun will come out tomorrow.”
If our optimistic orphan had seen “Tomorrowland,” she would be singing a different tune.
For a PG movie, aimed at families and youngsters, “Tomorrowland” is bleak, sour and dour.
You’d think that a movie with such a promising title would be bouncy, tomorrowland clooneybright and overflowing with hope, especially since it was directed by Brad Bird, who has given us such delightful offerings as Pixar’s “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles.”
Instead, we get what amounts to a 130-minute strident and repetitious public-service announcement about how mankind is destroying the planet and itself and refusing to take action to fix what is wrong.
This overly preachy film displays a low opinion of the human race, despite its forced hopefulness about how the dreamers of the world are the ones who can save the future.
What is even more disturbing is that for a film entitled “Tomorrowland,” we get only a few minutes of footage about this futuristic utopia — and even that is deceiving.
The film, which spends the bulk of its running time in the present, offers — like so many recent movies — a rather dystopian view of the future.
Worse, top-billed George Clooney gives a cranky and one-note performance. He acts as if he is either bored or embarrassed by the entire project.
Brittany Robertson, who plays the spunky Casey, spends most of the film either screaming, shouting or dumbfounded by the events around her.
The film’s tone is inconsistent, as well. The first several minutes of “Tomorrowland” are rather witty and breezy, but then, the movie makes an unexpected detour into some unnecessary violence that is rather inconsistent with its rating.
It is at least 80 minutes into the feature before you actually learn what is going on and why. By then, however, it may be too late as many audience members — especially the younger ones — may be bored or too restless to pay attention.
The film does not take advantage of the “Tomorrowland” theme-park concept. At times, it plays like something you would find at Epcot; all it’s missing is Michael Jackson’s Captain Eo.
One sequence involving the Eiffel Tower is fun and ingenious, but, overall, “Tomorrowland” is a bitter disappointment.
For a movie that is supposed to make your mind soar and spark your imagination, “Tomorrowland” is mired by a lack of creativity and inspiration.
A pedestrian story and bland performances mire “Tomorrowland” in mediocrity.

Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.


1½ stars out of 4
(PG), science fiction action and violence, disturbing images, language

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