Tomorrowland is a tough movie to review and it isn’t hard to see why it didn’t perform very well at the box office. It isn’t that it’s a terrible movie, or really even a bad movie, it’s just sort of all over the place. There’s truly a great deal of information, but sometimes you… well, you get lost in all of it. You can get lost in both good and bad ways, and Tomorrowland provides both. Ultimately there’s about the same amount of bad and good. Really, you needn’t look further than Disney itself to see how difficult the movie is to decipher. When introduced a few years ago at the D23 Expo, the display they had on hand was confusing. At first, I thought the confusing nature of the display was simply to build hype for the “mysterious” movie. After further thought, and seeing this movie in both the theater and on Blu-ray, I think it’s likely the presentation wasn’t intentionally confusing as I first thought. Rather, it’s just a really hard movie to describe. Even the great marketing minds at Disney couldn’t adequately describe the movie in the marketing materials when it was released to theaters, and really, that says all you really need to know about the film.
The movie begins at a 1960’s World’s Fair, and this is where we first learn of “Tomorrowland.” Without giving away too much in the way of details, we are introduced to a child inventor named Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) that brings his invention to the Worlds Fair. He tried to present his invention, but doesn’t really get too far and is obviously disappointed. That is, until he gets a sort of invitation to ride an attraction (more on this later) and with this, he makes his way to Tomorrowland. This future world is full of inventions and, of course, he immediately lands in some danger. He handles it just fine, but the audience is then transported back to the present time where we are introduced to a second character, Casey (Britt Robertson). From here, the movie is anything but simple. We’re introduced to so much from here in so many directions. How many, you might be asking? Well, we learn something interesting about the Eiffel Tower, great inventors (Thomas Edison, Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla), robots… I’ll not spoil any of the exact story details, but the film quickly goes all over the place, and it’s during some of this that we really get a little dizzy from everything that’s presented.
The Tomorrowland Blu-ray contains several Bonus Features that were particularly well done, but the best was probably the “Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions.” It contains six different scenes that were removed from the final film. I’ll not list the changes as there were a couple of surprising finds in here. Another of the Special Features, “Remembering the Future: A Personal Journey Through Tomorrowland with Brad Bird” is Brad Birds commentary on the making of the film and it’s always interesting to hear their take on the movie.
I’ve said several positive and negative things about Tomorrowland, but I think the movie is actually entertaining most of the time. It’s just frustrating because you can see how great it could have been. Overall, I think it’s one that most will enjoy. It’s very family-friendly and the visuals in the film are nothing short of incredible. The special effects are quite spectacular and the Blu-ray transfer is excellent. You should really watch the film to see how amazing the visuals are. They’re really that good. The Disney references throughout the film are at that level as well. If you’re a Disney fan, have been to one of the parks, or perhaps want to go in the future, there’s a lot of small details in the film. From “It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” playing in the background at the beginning of the movie to the “It’s a Small World” Attraction, Tomorrowland has a number of Disney references both obvious and obscure. I’ll leave it to you to see if you can find all of them.
- Remembering the Future: A Personal Journey Through Tomorrowland with Brad Bird: Discover everything there is to know about the making of Tomorrowland through Director Brad Bird’s perspective.
- Casting Tomorrowland: Join Brad Bird, writer Damon Lindelof, George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidy as they discuss the making of the movie.
- A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session: Famed composer Michael Giacchino invites Disney legend, Richard Sherman to join him in an informal visit to the Tomorrowland scoring stage, told through the personal lens of Michael’s brother, documentarian Anthony Giacchino.
- The World of Tomorrow Science Hour Hosted By Futurologist David Nix: Believe it or not but Nix used to host a children’s television program about science. Now watch the recently discover outtakes from the show.
- Animated Short: The Origins of Plus Ultra, an animated story of how Tomorrowland came to be.
- Brad Bird Production Diaries
- Blast from the Past Commercial
- Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Intro, eight total
- Four Easter Eggs
CAST: George Clooney as Frank Walker (“Gravity,” “Up in the Air”), Britt Robertson as Casey Newton (“The First Time,” “The Longest Ride”), Raffey Cassidy as Athena (“Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Dark Shadows”), Hugh Laurie as Nix (“Monsters vs. Aliens,” TV’s “House M.D.”), Tim McGraw as Eddie Newton (“The Blind Side”)
PRODUCERS: Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”), Jeffrey Chernov (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”), Damon Lindelof (TV’s “Lost,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”)
DIRECTOR: Brad Bird
WRITERS: Screenplay by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird; Story by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird & Jeff Jensen
RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2015
PRODUCTS: Digital HD/SD, Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA), Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
FEATURE RUN TIME: Approximately 130 min.
RATING: Feature Film: PG in U.S.; PG in CE; G in CF
ASPECT RATIO: Blu-ray Feature Film = 1080p High Definition / 2.20:1
DVD Feature Film = 2.20:1
AUDIO: Blu-ray = 7.1 DTS
DVD = 5.1 Dolby
LANGUAGES: English, French & Spanish
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French & Spanish
Disclosure: We received a copy of this movie for review purposes. All opinions are our own.