It had to happen I guess. 2015 has been a remarkably strong year for big, Hollywood, tent-pole films. From Cinderella to Fast & Furious 7 and even Mad Max, these are much better movies than just about anyone expected.
And then there was Tomorrowland.
God, I wanted this to be good. It's not. No matter how HARD it tries (and it does, to a fault) it's just clumsy and overly complicated. The theme is fantastic and ambitious: Our fascination and addiction to concepts of a dystopian future are leading us directly into...a dystopian future.
But it's as if someone came up with a simple, elegant idea and then handed it (and some good weed) over to a team of comic-geeks to pound out a thick, self-important, convoluted liturgy to accompany it. It buries itself in exposition. I found it truly and sadly tedious by about forty minutes in.
It starts beautifully with a flashback sequence to the New York World's Fair and a trip into the "It's a Small World" exhibit where, apparently, Walt Disney and a lot of other great minds have created an underground think-tank for the greater good of man. That's all I'll spill. Then it tries to become "National Treasure Meets Future World" for the next loud and long two hours starring George Clooney who, for the first time, looks like he has no idea what he's doing or why he's doing it.
Clooney plays a banished genius who sulks in a decrepit house/lab in J Crew catalogue outfits. George looks like Cary Grant did when he was forced to do movies with children--forced and out of place. He's miscast, as is the young heroine (Britt Robertson) who is like the less-charming offspring of Anna Kendrick and Kristen Stewart as she sulks in a loud voice through most of the adventure. And Hugh Laurie as the quasi-villain gives the proceedings the air of the first, kinda cheesy, "Tron". You know...kind of like "Well we can get Roddy McDowell to do it!"
So disappointing. Great idea, great art direction and great director--Brad Bird. Well, he's only directed four films (The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, The Incredibles and the last James Bond epic) but they are all certainly great. But this is sloppy and undisciplined in its attempt to wow all audiences and ends up not really being for much of any audience at all. The last ten minutes (which are lovely) show you what kind of classic this could have been. But, what is also obvious is that the project is at odds with itself from the beginning. It's both a tremendously earnest effort and a cynical attempt to create a franchise, simultaneously. It doesn't work.
I believe this will tank after the first weekend.
(Loudinni specializes in reviews to be read in under a minute.)