“You wanted to see Tomorrowland,” affirms a grumpy Frank Walker (George Clooney) at the beginning of the movie’s third act. Yes, yes we did, but by this point we’ve been given virtually nothing. At 130 minutes long, Tomorrowland manages to pack in the absolute bare minimum of actual Tomorrowland, showing us violence against innocent civilians, people arguing in dark rooms and what life is like inside a stolen pick-up truck.
George Clooney may be the movie’s top billed star, but it’s Britt Robertson’s rebellious, inventive and confident teenage Casey Newton who takes centre stage. Despite looking way too old to play a teen, Robertson delivers an eccentric, solid and relatively comedic performance. Anyone looking for an inspirational female lead need look no further. She gets right under the skin of Walker – a role very unusual for Clooney. Gone are the charm, the looks and the playboy attitude of his Ocean’s character. Instead we get a tired, bitter and generally unpleasant man who feels aggrieved at being kicked out of Tomorrowland.
Why is that? Well, that’s the crank handle that kicks the third act into life, though it’s far from a revolutionary plot. In fact we’ve seen it several times already; I could almost sense the “oh no not this again” opinions from my fellow moviegoers. And the villain reveal has to be one of the most muted (and obvious) of all time.
Don’t get me wrong, the production design is fantastic. In the brief moments we get to see Tomorrowland in all its burgeoning glory it looks like Steve Wozniak’s cocaine-filled fantasy of the ultimate Apple Store, peppered with glorious retro space-age design flourishes. It’s brilliant, and looks great in IMAX as we swoop and dive through every 1950s kids’ dream of the future. The tragedy is that we spend more time in the backwaters of Texas than in this gleaming utopia. The film fails to deliver on its promise of showing us a better tomorrow, but that’s not to say it’s a total disaster.
The core spinning at the centre of this movie is the question of why do we just accept that bad things happen to the world? How can we fix it? Tomorrowland was the answer, I just wish we’d spent more time seeing why.
Tomorrowland is out in cinemas now!