If anyone had told you 20 years ago that a film could be successfully developed from a theme park ride, they would have laughed at you. But then the Pirates of the Caribbean came along and made more money than anyone could reasonably count, and since then we’ve had films based on Grumpy Cat and Emojis (probably), so Disney trying their hand at adapting an unlikely property again isn’t so surprising.
Tomorrowland is not (as you may have thought) based off of the Trance and Electro festival in Europe. It is rather based off of the exhibition on the topic of “the world of tomorrow,” organised in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT centre. Dedicated to all thinks futuristic and forward thinking, the display was designed to generate optimism for the future in the fields of science, engineering and general standards of life. That same stylistic view of the future from the 1960s, as well as the ethos of boundless optimism permeate this film, and probably generate the most viewable parts of it.
The plot focuses on Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), the daughter of a NASA engineer who discovers a mysterious pin in her possession that gives her glimpses of Tomorrowland, a fantastical futuristic city. She tracks down the aid of Frank Walker (Clooney) a grouchy old inventor who holds some secrets of Tomorrowland. They soon come into conflict with the sinister leader of Tomorrowland, David Nix (Laurie).
The plot and acting and script of the film are fairly generic for the most part. Where this film excels is in its visuals and audio, which translate extremely well onto blu-ray, and if you do feel compelled to pick up any home movie edition, it should be that one. This movie seems to unashamedly want to be a wholesome, family epic, and there’s no harm in that, and hopefully the kids will enjoy the great scope of the film as much as anything else.
The other special features include several documentaries about the development of the film and of the science of futurism in general. It’s nice to see a film maintain its themes even into the special features, where topics not necessarily directly about the movie but which are linked to it are addressed.
If you have an enormous television and a 7.1 surround sound system, you may be able to overlook the more middling bits of this generally-okay summer blockbuster.