I’m now at the point where I need to ask myself am I so enamored with H.P. Lovecraft that I see his vibe in every movie I see, or am I just innately attracted to movies that either consciously or subconsciously touch upon his dark visionary skills? I want to believe it’s the latter, but you know how things are, it’s never a case of one or the other but a combination of both or many. At any rate you’d think a Disney movie would be last place I’d get a Lovecraftian vibe from but when Hugh Laurie is explaining why human society feels like it’s on the brink of annihilation, why there’s so much economic inequality, contradicting plagues of famine and obesity, why the weather is so fucked up, I couldn’t help but think of ol’ Howard Phillips Lovecraft; the driving force at the core of this movie that has all it’s characters either moving away from it, towards it or in servitude to it is a “cosmic outside force,” as Lovecraft might describe it, pressuring every human being on the planet to work towards their own global destruction. Okay, maybe, not so “cosmic,” since this “outside force” is man made, but trust me the author’s vibe is there and according to Futurologist/super scientist, David Nix (Hugh Laurie), and just plain old super scientist, Frank Walker (George Clooney), in 58 days mankind goes extinct.
Actually this is one of those expertly plotted movies where you know nothing more than what the main character(s) know and as they find things out so do you, so forget everything I just told you in the above paragraph. Before we get to all the subconscious Lovecraft vibing the best way I can describe what Tomorrowland is if Disney recruited James Cameron to craft a science fiction flick for the whole family this movie would be it. It’s got super science, parallel dimensions, good and bad androids, and a smidgen of time travel.
The movie starts off with Walker (Clooney) addressing the audience directly. I knew this had to be something like a video diary, or a last will and testament, but I couldn’t figure out what. Until just sit right back and listen to Walker try and tell us about the world, the future, etc, but he keeps getting interrupted by someone off screen that sounds like a young girl. She finally gets him to tell us about how he first learned about Tomorrowland (cue start of movie). We meet Frank as a young boy (Thomas Robinson) in 1964 at the World’s Fair. He’s got something in a backpack he wants to show someone and when he finally gets his ass to that someone it’s this David Nix (Laurie) fella and what I assumed was his 10-year old daughter Athena (Raffey Cassidy).
Frank’s invented a jetpack, but it doesn’t fly right. It flies mostly horizontal, close to the ground and makes you crash a lot, but Athena sees potential in him and gives him this trademark Tomorrowland pin. This helps him follow her, Nix and some other visitors into this water ride, which at one point becomes a secret entrance to Tomorrowland.
Cut back to that opening scene we now get introduced to the off screen girl. It’s a Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) and now our movie kicks off for reals as it centers on her. She’s one of them super geniuses too, and her father works at Cape Canaveral, but he’s getting laid off soon, as soon as they dismantle the launch pad, so she takes it upon herself to vandalize it thus slowing everything down, but on this particular night she fucks up and gets herself caught. Caught as in arrested.
It’s in the police station, after her father’s come to bail her out where she gets introduced to Tomorrowland, or it’s trademark pin I should say, which exhibits some funky effects upon one’s sense of reality when one touches it. Touch it and you’re in a giant wheat field with Tomorrowland in the distance. Let it go and you’re back in “known reality.” Traveling to Tomorrowland via this pin is problematic. You’re senses may be in another “reality” but you’re still in your “known reality,” which means if you intend to walk through that field you better have a keen memory of where you are in your own “reality.” Walls, furniture, roads, etc all heavily apply.
It’s a moot point anyway; this isn’t really the way to Tomorrowland. I cannot explain further than that. As I said this is one movie you’re best to go in cold on. If you insist on reading this review further you’ll just have to stomach the “mild spoilers” I’m spilling, and will continue to spill. I would recommend you see the movie first, then come back here and fill your thinker with my two cents.
Someone’s looking for Casey though. It’s Athena, and for a girl who’s 51-years old she retains her 10-year old youth really fuckin’ well. I cannot divulge why she’s still ten, but if you’ve read the previous paragraphs you might be able to figure it out. Anyhow, Casey makes the mistake of going to find the origin of this pin and comes into the evil clutches of this husband and wife memorabilia collectors who turn out to be good for nothing robots who for reasons unknown want to know where Athena is.
Well Athena shows up and rescues Casey and off they both go on a road trip to find Frank. Clooney comes back into the picture at about the hour mark and things get even crazier with more super science gadgets being put to the test. This is all leading to Casey making Frank take her to Tomorrowland where we finally see it’s gone to pot in the intervening decades, like New Detroit pot, well, maybe, not that bad. There’s no crime apparent, only dilapidation as far as the eye can see.
I’m going to stop my review here, because now I’m getting to the crux of this tale, which dovetails perfectly with that first paragraph I wrote. Now go and watch it. Keep in mind this is not your average Disney flick as you can probably tell, which is also another reason why I loved it.
Back on October 13th Disney released Tomorrowland on separate DVD and DVD/Blu-ray/Digital Copy editions!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.20:1 high definition widescreen—7.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio/5.1 French Dolby Digital/5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital/ 5.1 Portuguese Dolby Digital—English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Video and Audio looked and sounded fantastic!
- Remembering the Future (7:09)
- Casting Tomorrowland (7:27)
- A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session (6:03)
- The World of Tomorrow Science Hour (5:08)
- Animated Short: The Origins of Plus Ultra (3:25)
- Brad Bird Production Diaries:
- Diary Entry #1 – The First Day (1:49)
- Diary Entry #2 – Tomorrowland vs. the Weather—EASTER EGG
- Diary Entry #3 – NASA (2:46)
- Blast from the Past Commercial (:40)
- Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Intro:
- Deleted Scene 1 – Joking on the Eiffel Tower (2:21)
- Deleted Scene 2 – Young Casey vs. The Volcano (2:44)
- Deleted Scene 3 – Doomsday Living Room (3:38)
- Deleted Scene 4 – As Originally Written Casey The Downer (7:27)
- Deleted Scene 5 – What Happened to Tomorrowland? (2:58)
- Deleted Scene 6 – What is Tomorrowland? (4:17)
- Deleted Scene 7 – Great Big Beautiful World World’s Fair—EASTER EGG
- Deleted Scene 8 – Frank Walker age 10—EASTER EGG
- 4 Easter Eggs
NOTE: There are supposedly 4 Easter Eggs on the disc, and according to the press release three of them I learned are part of the extra features there. I cannot find any of them or the 4th.
If you want to learn a tad more about David Nix and Tomorrowland’s creation check out The World of Tomorrow Science Hour and the Animated Short: The Origins of Plus Ultra. The former is a series of outtakes from a science show Nix was a part of back in the 60s and it’s clear the man is cold and unlikable and can’t stand kids. Truth be told the Animated short isn’t much different than what you learn from Frank Walker in that scene in the Eiffel Tower, just here it’s animated.
I’ve been a fan of Director Brad Bird ever since The Iron Giant (1999) and thought he did an even better job with The Incredibles (2004), and with his first live action feature, it’s home run number #3.