Film Review: Tomorrowland

They are called trailers because they used to be played after the film, trailing it’s ends credits. But of course, nobody stayed that long to see them and so, in a moment of inspiration, they reordered the runnings, previewing the trailers before the feature, making you sit through them before the film you’d gone to see. And this forced viewing meant I got to see the trailer for Tomorrowland and why, I decided it didn’t look quite as bad as I expected it to.

Having been awake since 4 am for one reason and another, breakfast becoming an apple due to a delivery man failing to keep a “before 9am” appointment, it is far to say that right now I am very tired and just as hungry, and so, to pass time on a miserable Friday afternoon, Tomorrowland was given it’s chance. It appeared to be that perfect blend of action, adventure, sci-fi, aimed squarely at a younger generation. It appeared to be just about entertaining enough while ultimately not overly taxing, perfect for a mind in need of recharging and refuelling.

Peter Capaldi As The Doctor - Doctor Who

Sadly though, trailers lie. And Tomorrowland is just another example of how a 2 minute sketch designed to sell you a film can portray an idea, story and tone that are completely lacking in the main feature. What I was expecting and the film I have just watch are so far apart that I can’t quite work out how one can be connected to the other, or what exactly Tomorrowland is meant to be, say or become.

The first thing that really struck me about Tomorrowland is the age range it’s designed for. This is a kids film. It feels like it’s made for 8 – 10 year olds. It feels like a combination of Doctor Who meets The Hunger Games, but told with an American accent. It’s all just a bit too dreamy, and imaginative, and implausible. Things happen because they happen. The adult rules of science gone and replaced by the dreaming necessity of a child. Yours is not to question why. Don’t misjudge me though, there is nothing wrong with kids films in general, I love some kids films, but they need to understand their audience and this doesn’t. It felt like it’s meant to be watched by late primary school age children and yet the script is toned for those in secondary. It’s a 12A wanting a PG audience. The plot is an idea brought to life in a way that is too young for the language then used to describe it. The while the personality and strength of the characters involved meant that nothing feels compatible. It’s all just a bit of a mishmash of styles.

What’s even worse is that good children’s movies have hidden elements, nods to the parents, designed to reinvigorate tired minds. You just have to look at Paddington to see how you can take a story designed primarily for children and win over the “accompanying adult” with greater affection. And they try that with Tomorrowland. There are sequences and ideas that only the grown-ups will get. There is a visual reference to Terminator 2, while the two “big name” actors have made their name, so-to-speak, playing Doctor’s in a film that feels like a facsimile of the Time Lord’s setting and they take this one step further with a visual joke pinned on Hugh Laurie’s leg. But they are weak jokes that don’t salvage anything because they feel forced. There is no timing to them, they don’t fit into the bigger picture.

George Clooney, Hugh Laurie & Cast - Tomorrowland

Secondly, the film is just far too long. It’s over 2 hours and because it’s aiming at the youngest child in the room, it’s plot doesn’t offer enough to sustain you. I wasn’t bored because I was never really engaged to a point from which I could switch off. It’s more just a monotonous drone of visual noise on the screen in front of you. You can drop in and out and not miss anything, of lose you way. Even worse is that it’s accompanied by a soundtrack that feels futuristic but is so generic that it’s instantly forgetful. It could be played over any sci-fi film and you’d never tell the difference. It adds nothing. But they want it to have a role, so it is intrusively used, not seeming to fit to the action. It’s almost as if every element of this film has been designed from a specification without seeing any other part and nothing has ended up adding together.

Evening the acting performances don’t save the day. The pre-mentioned Doctors: George Clooney and Hugh Laurie reminded me simply of the big name “star” turning their hand to something non challenging as a quick break from the serious stuff. It’s the 2015 version of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop. Laurie never once feeling like he was putting any effort into his performance. While Britt Robertson and Raffey Cassidy are just kids, and don’t do a thing to give you confidence they are going to be commending the big screen for years to come. That may be harsh, because they are being asked to work with absolutely nothing. But they feel jerky and wooden, and all four have times when you just question how committed they really were to this film.

Walt Disney With A Rocket - Tomorrowland

I know I am not the target audience for Tomorrowland by a long, long way, but I don’t believe the film truly knows who it’s target it audience is or what it’s story actually was and has ended up trying to cover all age groups with a basic outline. The result being a film that fails to cover anything or anyone. It’s too long, the dialogue too serious for the under 10’s and yet it’s too imaginative and naive for the over 10s. And if your accompanying the aforementioned children, it’s just boring nonsense, that will leave you thinking more about the price of Admission, Popcorn and Car Parking charges than Walt Disney’s view of the future!

I wanted the semi serious and action packed fun yet daft dream of the future the trailer promised me. I wanted youthful comedy and an idea to lose myself in. I wanted tomorrow. But instead I got today, and today is cold and wet, grey and miserable. I should have remembered – Tomorrow never comes.

4 out of 10 stars (4 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

Comments are closed.