'Tomorrowland': The reviews are in...
After months of mystery, director Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland rockets into theaters with a sci-fi action fantasy that looks and feels like nothing else in theaters. Inspired by the future that Walt Disney and others imagined when the Tomorrowland attraction opened at the original park in 1955, Tomorrowland trades on nostalgia and a bright vision of an alternate future with no boundaries.
Britt Robertson plays Casey, a rebellious science prodigy frustrated by the apathy she sees around her as the world slowly wheezes towards a final collapse. She gets arrested for trying to prevent NASA from dismantling a launchpad, bringing her to the attention of some very elite people. When she’s slipped a special pin, Casey is transported to another dimension that might have the answers for saving the present and future. But she needs help, which brings her to the front door of Frank Walker (George Clooney), a reclusive scientific genius whose first encounter with Tomorrowland decades earlier left him heartbroken and banished.
Bird, best known for his masterful animated films—The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille—co-wrote the script with Damon Lindelof (Prometheus), and EW’s Jeff Jensen collaborated with them to conceive the story. “We were always guided by Walt’s original plan for Epcot: an actual ‘experimental prototype community of tomorrow,’ an ever-evolving laboratory to develop ideas that would improve the world,” Jensen wrote. “We wondered: What if Walt really had built such a place? What if it still existed? What if someone went on a journey to find it?”
Hugh Laurie co-stars as one of the brilliant masters of Tomorrowland, and Raffey Cassidy stars as the young girl who helps brings Casey and Frank together.
To read more about what some notable critics think of the film, click below.
David Edelstein (New York)
“Brad Bird’s Disney-produced sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland is the most enchanting reactionary cultural diatribe ever made. It’s so smart, so winsome, so utterly rejuvenating that you’ll have to wait until your eyes have dried and your buzz has worn off before you can begin to argue with it.”
Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald)
“Tomorrowland is a crazy, disjointed mess. But it’s the good sort of crazy, and it’s the sort of mess you want to lose yourself in, like the paint-splattered studio of an artist who has been on a mad creative tear, cranking out crazy pieces that you can’t stop poring over.”
A.O. Scott (New York Times)
“Its idea of the future is abstract, theoretical and empty, and it can only fill in the blank space with exhortations to believe and to hope. But belief without content, without a critical picture of the world as it is, is really just propaganda. Tomorrowland, searching for incitements to dream, finds slogans and mistakes them for poetry.”
Justin Chang (Variety)
“The forces of mediocrity have largely prevailed over Tomorrowland, a kid-skewing adventure saga that, for all its initial narrative intrigue and visual splendor, winds up feeling like a hollow, hucksterish Trojan horse of a movie — the shiny product of some smiling yet sinister dimension where save-the-world impulses and Disney mass-branding strategies collide. A sort of Interstellar Jr. … the picture runs heavier on canned inspirationalism than on actual inspiration…”
Drew McWeeny (HitFix)
“Part of what drove me craziest about Tomorrowland as an experience is that it seems to be the first act of a movie for about 2/3 of its running time, all road trip with no real payoff. By the time we finally make it to Tomorrowland, it’s time to wrap things up, and we spend just enough time in the titular location to get the entire theme of the film delivered to us in perhaps the most pedantic fashion possible.”
Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times)
“Ambition, however, is not the same as execution, and it’s also true, sadly, that, as much as you wish it were otherwise, Tomorrowland works in only fits and starts. Tentpoles are rarely guilty of overreaching, but Tomorrowland has a tendency to feel out of control, a film that is finally more ambitious than accomplished.”
Ty Burr (Boston Globe)
“Now that Tomorrowland is here, the reasons for the cloak of secrecy become apparent: The thing barely makes a lick of sense. Rapturous on a scene-by-scene basis and nearly incoherent when taken as a whole, the movie is idealistic and deranged, inspirational and very, very conflicted. It soars with moments of visual wonder only to face-plant over issues of motivation, revelation, and plot.”
Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times)
“Instead of dialing up the fun, the filmmakers piled on with the lecture. In the last few minutes of this movie I was reminded of my days as a student, when the semester was over and it was the last day of school, and the teacher was still lecturing us as the final bell rang. Enough. We get it. We need to do better. Now can we get back to the flying cars?”
Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Clooney is the linchpin, playing Frank with an anger and disappointment bordering on despair. This is not Clooney cashing in on some action-movie payday, so he can go back to his serious work. This is a real performance and, to the film’s credit, Clooney’s investment is supported by the script. Frank knows things, terrible things, that no one else knows, and it’s eating him up inside.”
Wesley Morris (Grantland)
“Of all the things this film asks us to believe, the notion of George Clooney as an apparently monkish bachelor who never got over the girl he met at the ’64 World’s Fair is the hardest to accept. … Clooney’s performance has a nice, underplayed Henry Fonda quality, with a soupçon of Nick Nolte every time something makes him say ‘Aww, hell.’ Which is often.”
Brian Truitt (USA Today)
“Robertson gives Casey the needed amount of teen moxie without being obnoxious, Clooney exudes charisma even under a pile of gruff, but the real revelation here is Cassidy, a British newcomer who plays Athena as an entertaining blend of Hermione Granger, Bruce Lee and The Doctor of Doctor Who fame.”
Overall Metacritic rating (1-100): 61
Rotten Tomatoes: 50 percent
Length: 107 minutes
Starring Britt Robertson, George Clooney
Directed by Brad Bird