A summer blockbuster that isn’t a sequel or based on a comic book, Tomorrowland (A World Beyond added for the European release as there is a music festival with the same name) is actually inspired by the Disneyland theme park area that featured Walt Disney’s visions of the future when it was built back in 1955.
So what if there was a future land filled with rockets, jet packs, robots and an idyllic lifestyle? Would you go there? When teen Casey (Robertson) finds a badge that magically – but briefly – transports her to this utopia when she touches it, she wants to find a way back, and her quest leads her to a grumpy middle aged inventor named Frank (Clooney) who knows about this secret place because he was exiled from it years before.
For the first two-thirds of the movie, this sci-fi drama is filled with a glorious sense of wonder, invention and adventure for both adults and kids as Casey discovers Tomorrowland, and we see young Frank’s (the adorable Robinson) own introduction to the futuristic place decades before at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Writers Brad Bird (who also directs), and Lost’s Damon Lindelof deliver just the right mix of action, science fiction and humour (helped by Clooney’s curmudgeonly delivery)… but then it all veers a bit off track for the final stage, as the writers come over all contemplative, musing on just what happened here on Earth – when did we go from viewing the future with awe to dreading it and destroying it?
While the denoument may disappoint adults looking for something as delightful as what comes earlier in the movie (Lost fans may note that Lindelof does seem better at set-ups than endings), there is still much to celebrate here. Clooney is the best screen crackpot inventor since Back To The Future’s Doc Brown, and he is skilfully supported by Robertson (an enjoyably tough cookie), Raffey Cassidy (as the girl who tempts young Frank to Tomorrowland) and Hugh Laurie.
However, it is the world of tomorrow that is really the star – whether it is the futuristic land you can visit with the touch of a magic badge, or the clever booby traps and devices around Frank’s remote house we see in one of the most frenetic and fun scenes in the film – and it is thanks to the ideas of Bird and Lindelof that you’ll be left with a sense of wonder at it all as the end credits roll.
Is Tomorrowland: A World Beyond suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Please note this is a 12A certificate and does feature a few scenes that may upset young viewers – a character is hit by a car, another is hit in the head, and one is crushed.
There is also some mild bad language.