I am mad. Mad at the movie industry, and mad at the typical movie-goer. I just saw the Brad Bird (think The Incredibles, Iron Giant, MI: Ghost Protocol) movie Tomorrowland — after watching and reading "meh" reviews from critics and observing it dying a relatively quick death at the box office — and I have no idea why this unique, fun, very different movie is going to be the next John Carter of Mars (i.e. a box office letdown, which might ruin a few names in the industry), whilst fairly boring and mediocre retreads like Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Fast and the Furry 17 are raking in all kinds of moneys across the globe.
If I had come out of seeing Tomorrowland before its opening weekend I would have bet good money that it would have been the family movie to beat this summer. Instead, it appears I will be writing its epitaph.
Anyway, before I talk about the plot, I'll let you know that Tomorrowland is all about "optimism." Being the pessimist that I am, I was truly caught off guard with how well Bird was able to craft such a "hopeful" movie that didn't wallow in its own super-retarded and forced exuberance, as I'm sure you've seen before in countless movies in the past (think really dumb, overly simplistically optimistic, candy-coated pieces of crap movies like any of those poisonous Heaven is for Realz-like flicks that have come out in the past few years). Yet I came out of the movie theater smiling because Bird sold it. Just like he sold a giant war machine from outer space saving the Earth, or a rat becoming the greatest chef in Paris, Bird made me believe that a cute girl from Florida, and a grumpy old George Clooney could rescue the world from itself with the power of hope and dreams.... Yeah, I know, when you say it out loud it makes you gag, but trust in the Bird-man. He has yet to do us any wrong.
Okay, so Tomorrowland starts off with George Clooney (Frank) and a cute blonde teenage girl (Casey Newton) telling us about the past, and how their dreams saved the future. They bring us into a tale that begins at the New York World's Fair of 1964, when Frank was just a kid. Using his super brain, young Frank turned his dad's vacuum cleaner into a jetpack and brought it to be judged by Hugh Laurie (playing the scowly David Nix) at his science pavilion. Dave ain't impressed (despite the fact that a 10 year-old build an almost-working jetpack with his own two hands), but a young girl named Athena believes that Frank has promise, and thusly gives him a pin that allows the young boy to follow her and David into a pocket reality filled with futuristic wonders called "TOMORROWLAND"! (The all caps are mine.)
We then flash forward to the present, and see Casey Newton sneaking into a NASA launching facility at night, and (using a remote-controlled drone helicopter) sabotaging a bunch of vehicles and machines that are being used to dismantle the launch tower. The little terrorist is doing this to keep her NASA engineer dad from losing his job (even though he tells her not to get involved), and the next night, as she attempts to break the wrecking machines, she's busted and thrown in jail, where upon leaving and collecting her items she finds a small metal pin with a "T" on it that she doesn't remember ever owning. You've probably seen the trailer that show that whenever Casey touches the pin she sees a vision of a city filled with amazingly tall sky scrapers, hover-trains, and swimming pools hovering in mid-air.
Well, this gets Casey all excited, and upon the pin losing its power, she begins to hunt down information about the pin, what it means, and where to go from there... As dreamers are wont to do in movies.
This quest of hers brings her to meet both grumpy old Frank (who's now banned from Tomorrowland), and the apparently eternally youthful Athena, and makes enemies out of an endless supply of evil robots who like to vaporize humans who ask too many questions. Frank is all grouchy and crotchety because he can tap into Tomorrowland's constant visual broadcasts which shows that the world has a 100% chance of ending in a bit over a month, but Casey doesn't buy that crap, and instead gets him to see that there is no fate but what we make. Then they find a bomb and blow up Tomorrowland and everyone in it so that the future is saved!... No, I'm fucking with you about that last part. The two do make it their mission to save the world from whatever is about to befall it though, and they face lots of hurdles and robots and despondent Dr. Houses in their quest for saving humanity and the planet.
What is "Tomorrowland?" How does one get there? Is the Earth really doomed to end in just a few months time? What do Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison have to do with jack shit? I say watch the movie and find out.
I am honestly shocked at how many critics had a problem with this super fun feature. To quote Roger Ebert in talking about Bird's earlier work, The Iron Giant, "[It] is not just a cute romp, but an involving story that has something to say." Tomorrowland does have something to say, but unlike the retarded critics of today who have to be spoon fed every little detail of a story that they see on the big screen, I know that Bird wasn't forcing us to listen to his views that Ayn Rand was right. He wasn't force-feeding us his views that war is bad, and that we'll all die from Global Warming either (both are hinted as being a reason the world will end soon, but it's not stated outright in any hackneyed way that we need to vote for the Democratic Party in the next election), he was in fact telling us that the only way to give ourselves (as humanity) a better tomorrow is to dream it and believe in it. Hope for it, then work for it. HOW is this a bad fucking lesson?! This is the kind of shit we should be teaching our children every goddamn day of their young, dumb lives! Bird has made amazing movies teaching incredible lessons about choosing who we want to be, believing in our own families, dreaming big, and climbing up the outsides of skyscrapers in the middle of giant sandstorms without any fucks given, and Tomorrowland is just another marvelous movie that you should walk away from with a smile on your stupid face and a little more enthusiasm and happiness in your heart.
Maybe this "Tomorrowland" is still in the future even for me. I have never seen anything as pretty, inspirited, and clean as the Tomorrowland in this motion picture in any of my time travels to my world's multiple pasts.
I saw this movie, and then promptly forgot about it. It appeared to me to be a bit of revisionist history at first, and I never looked back on it, until I found out from the Rossman when it was made... This movie was actually made 25 years BEFORE "The Fall"! After learning this I came to regard it as a piece of pretty accurate prophetic storytelling, especially the part with androids running around and blasting people into gooey vapor.
Just wait, then you'll see what I'm talking about. It won't be long now. Whoever wrote this movie is either a time traveler himself, or he's suffering from disturbing future visions, caused by tachyons going backward through time from The Fall, probably caused by the invading polar bears and their tactical nuclear strikes due to all the man-made Global Warming.
(Notes from the Rossman: Apparently the Wolfman just broke up with his girlfriend, or it's just Tuesday)