Review - Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland (2015), PG, 130 minutes - Tomorrowland is a film that has intrigued me since I saw the first teaser trailer.  I had heard good things about George Clooney's involvement in this family friendly sci-fi flick from Disney and the fact that it was co-written by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof (and directed by Bird) certainly didn't hurt either.

Clooney provides the star power to help draw in an older audience, but Tomorrowland actually centers on a teenage girl named Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), the daughter of a NASA engineer (Tim McGraw) with a seemingly unlimited imagination, positive outlook, and a bit of a rebellious streak.  When the film starts, she's arrested during one of her many attempts to hijack the cranes being used to decommission a NASA launch pad (once the pad has been deconstructed, her father is out of a job).  After her father bails her out, she finds a pin in her belongings that she has never seen before.  When she touches it, she is transported to a parallel dimension, a futuristic city filled with all sorts of scientific wonders.  She quickly learns that she is the only one who sees this futuristic city when touching the pin and goes about trying to learn more about the pin itself and where the amazing city actually is.  Her search first brings her in contact with another girl named Athena (Rafey Cassidy).  As it turns out, Athena isn't just the one who slipped the pin into Casey's belongings, but she isn't quite human either.  She knows more than she lets on, but helps Casey reach the home of a hermit named Frank Walker (George Clooney), who wants nothing to do with Casey.  But she's persistent and learns that he too has been to the futuristic city of Tomorrowland, a city that was created on a different plane for the world's most brilliant and creative minds to develop projects that would make the world a better place.  As Frank is giving Casey the Tomorrowland tutorial, his home is surrounded by a security force from Tomorrowland that has been tracking her.  After escaping, Frank, Casey, and Athena work to return to Tomorrowland, where they learn that it isn't the scientific utopia that it appeared to be.

Once the plot reaches Tomorrowland and we learn of the nefarious plan being set in motion by Hugh Laurie's Nix (and Frank's history with the city), it gets a little preachy about society's embracing stories of destruction and its desensitization to disasters.  I feel that is something that won't stand out quite so much to the younger viewing audience, but to me it felt a little heavy handed.  In any event, Tomorrowland is a fun, heartfelt sci-fi film for all ages.  Britt Robertson and George Clooney are both engaging and Rafey Cassidy is also good as Athena and her struggle to understand human emotion.  There is limited sci-fi violence (lasers, robots being destroyed), but that's about it, nothing that should keep you from allowing your kids to see it.  I think that Tomorrowland probably succeeds in inspiring and encouraging imagination in the younger generation(s), which is clearly the goal, and that makes it well worth sharing with our children.


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