Epcot the Movie

This film is brought to you by Walt Disney (obviously still a valued consultant regardless of the frozen stasis pod), the doomsday society behind 2012, and, for some reason, Greyhound Bus Lines. Oh yes and Coca Cola, because they’re in everything. Tomorrowland communicates the story of one brilliant teenage heroine whose reaction to kidnapping, assassination attempts, and teleportation is screaming her lungs out. She’s just so relatable. Tomorrowland is another robot movie in what feels like a robot-movie-summer (Avengers, Ex Machina, Terminator…). Still, tampering with government tech, playing with laser canons, stealing more cars than Grand Theft Auto, setting an old man’s truck on fire to spite him, and finally saving the world through the power of touch screen technology does sound like a pretty cute adventure. And a great inspiration for kids. SCIENCE!!!!!

Tomorrowland is a futuristic place where only the most brilliant minds are allowed to live, learn, and create. Casey (Britt Robertson) is the most recent candidate. She becomes totally obsessed with it, tripping over herself to find a way in, which attracts the unwanted attention of smiley androids in black. Thankfully, Athena (Raffey Cassidy) comes to her aid. While not actually the goddess of wisdom, her mission is to seek out wise thinkers, choosing the most creative people to populate Tomorrowland and hopefully figure out how to stop Earth’s impending destruction. That’s right, the apocalypse is nigh! Athena and Casey track down Frank (George Clooney), a former child prodigy and the cynic of their little operation. Together the mighty trio search for a way into Tomorrowland to help secure the future and satisfy Casey’s curiosity.

Casey is a need-to-know-everything kind of teenager. Her dialogue usually comes in the form of a question, to the point where one character threatens to self-destruct if she doesn’t shut up. When the talking ends and the action eventually begins it’s like the flood gates have opened. Two car-jackings lead to the destruction of property, laser tag disintegration, homemade rocket launchers, homemade teleporters, falling to one’s death off a tower, space exploration, and giant, fighting robots. At some point (who knows when, where, or how) we even wade into a couple of paradoxes. Tomorrowland gets very messy toward the end, with a villain sitting in his tall, crumbling tower, claiming that this is his crumbling tower, he has the right to rule it, and no one will change his mind with reason, positivity, or – heaven forbid – SCIENCE!!

All that said, Tomorrowland isn’t bad as far as original children’s movies go. The backbone of the film is positivity versus negativity, with the glass-half-full gang eventually saving the day. However, the baby ninja-genius, Athena, mumbles. She delivers important, complex information that is crucial to understanding the plot… and she mumbles. No wonder Casey has to ask so many questions. Frank is the classic old grump, strongly resembling Carl from Up, only with a slightly more concrete understanding of rocket science.

A futuristic world where teenagers jet off with friends for a weekend in space is a fun world to bring to life, and Casey’s determination to find it is exasperatingly intoxicating. You’re so determined to see her get there that you forget to look for Tomorrowland’s driving conflict. Oh right, story line, whoopsie-daisy. I was distracted imagining how eager I would be to ride a Tesla-built spaceship. The man was a genius but, for goodness sake, that thing is older than the windshield wiper.

Tomorrowland is kind of cute, with unlikely heroes and a whole slew of potential Disney World rides. They even throw in some recognizable classics just for kicks. Except, I don’t remember It’s a Small World and Splash Mountain  having so much in common. This movie is stuffed with Disney-brand product-placement (minus Greyhound Bus Lines) with everything from the Epcot globe to the rabbit from Alice and Wonderland. I couldn’t decide whether some scenes were shot in Paris or at the Epcot Paris pavilion. Tomorrowland has its charms, with creative weaponry, gadgets, and the astonishing architectural design of a city built on the privileges of the gifted few. However, it sinks a little in the character- and conflict-development departments. Altogether, Tomorrowland is about a 6/10.

Tomorrowland trailer.

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