Rated: PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: May 22, 2015 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
Who wouldn't like to see 100 or more years into the future. This month as the summer begins we have two differing views of what tomorrow will be like. Mad Max: Fury Road which presents a dark, desolate, desperate and violent world and Tomorrowland from Disney that sees the next centuries with challenges but far more enlightened than Mad Max.
Tomorrowland begins at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York. A young boy carrying his invention a jet back pack, made from an old electrolux vacuum cleaner, slips into the It's a Small World ride and is dropped under the floor of the stream down into a watery new world. The initial attention to 1964 also features the Carousel of Progress with its theme song "It's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" giving us a hint of what the future will be about. Both those rides from 1964 now reside at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It's a Small World remains quite popular but the Carousel of Progress no longer attracts the crowds it did originally, it has no thrills just a circular ride around the 20th century in the living room of an American family.
The connection to Frank Walker (George Clooney) presents itself as a young girl (Britt Robertson) who plays Casey approaches Walker's house and is confronted by an imaginary (appearing real) dog who she eventually walks through to get to the front door to confront Walker. He is connected to the future and is in hiding from what looks like Men In Black who are out to capture him. She has led them to him and the two must escape using the bath tub which quickly turns into a rocket powered vehicle. That is just a hint of the action which will come later which includes a rocket ride emitting form the Eiffel tower in Paris.
Obviously Walker travels from time to time and we begin to wonder if today is the future because of the beginning in 1964, he travels with Casey to a future which has a stunning city that appears at the end of a wheat field which Casey pops into when she touches a pin badge that she receives from an unknown source when she leaves a police station. As she touches the pin (kind of like the collectable pins at Disney World) she is transported toward the new land but her present location limits her distance. In one case she falls down the stairs and in another she finds herself up to her waist in a lake when she returns to her present time.
Raffey Cassidy plays Athena who has a mission to recruit Casey, she is most effective in her character appearing not quite human but very wise and knowledgeable. She also appears in the early scenes in 1964 at the Worlds Fair. Her accent is effective in creating a character that is different, but at times it is difficult to understand almost if she were an alien using English.
The future world is filled with flying cars and walkways one can see through and it sits majestically shaped in the center like a future Cinderella's castle surrounded by a bustling active successful place to work and play. However there is a dark factor to the future world, it has an expiration date which is controlled by Nix (Hugh Laurie) who fits in with the Men In Black types who have been chasing Walker from time to time. The expiration is dictated from somewhere in the past and Nix is determined to follow the expected time line. Casey is not, and we find ourselves watching a race to save the future world as Casey and Walker find the tool to change the predestination of the future. It requires a desperate and frantic set of movements to be in just the right place at the right time. That part of the film is not unique, and even though it is filled with spectacular effects we have seen it before.
The best parts of the film fall in the beginning when Casey first discovers the power of the pin and she flashes from one world to another giving us the understanding that she can go to the future and return to her present time.
George Clooney is the star but Britt Robertson is the heart of the film, she is in almost every scene and is the brave heroin who delivers the solution through determination and strength. Also delightful to watch is Raffey Cassidy who projects her origin but not completely as another young woman who has the key to success and knows what may happen if all goes as planed by Nix.
"Tomorrowland is the bright side of the future and we find numbers of Athena's collogues carrying the bright future as the film ends. Max Max: Fury Road is great film making, Tomorrowland is the Disney Great Big Bright Future filled with fun and hope.