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'Tomorrowland' Movie Review: Disney’s 'Tomorrowland' Receives Mixed Reaction From Critics

( [email protected] ) May 22, 2015 01:18 PM EDT

Tomorrowland

Oscar-winning director Brad Bird, who was behind the popular films "The Incredibles" and "The Iron Giant," has released the new film "Tomorrowland." The reviews have come out on that film, and the critics appear to have mixed reactions.

According to Brian Truitt of USA Today, Bird and screenwriter Damon Lindelof were in charge of this family-friendly action adventure. He thought it was "a spectacular ride for most of it."

"Britt Robertson is Casey Newton, a Cape Canaveral kid and science whiz who gets in trouble for trying to slow down the dismantling of a NASA project, one that's keeping her engineer dad (Tim McGraw) employed," Truitt wrote of the film's plot. "After a few hours in jail, she comes in contact with a retro-cool pin emblazoned with a 'T,' and when Casey touches it, she's transported to a wondrous future utopia."

Truitt added that place was called Tomorrowland, where "all the brightest minds on Earth could have somewhere to work, think and be awesome without bureaucracy and other obstacles slowing them down."

"It's not quite what it once was, and Casey discovers that she's the person who can fix it," Truitt wrote. "Her journey finds her befriending an enigmatic, freckle-faced youngster named Athena (Raffey Cassidy), the keeper of these magical pins, and Frank Walker (George Clooney), a boy genius who grew up to be an antisocial shut-in."

According to Truitt, the film felt like "a nostalgia trip," bringing in shades of "The Rocketeer," "E.T." and "The Goonies."

"Had this come out 30 years ago, it would be every child's favorite movie, and Bird and Lindelof seem to recognize as much," Truitt wrote. "They fill a whole store with yesteryear items, including a life-size Han Solo in carbonite that would have been in a Gen Xer's dream bedroom as a tyke."

However, Truitt had an issue with the film's message, which encouraged the younger generation to step up where older people have failed.

"The theme is somewhat subtle in the first half of the film: The real world is pretty much a cornucopia of contemporary doom compared with Tomorrowland, a pristine place where diversity rules and everybody is overly nice to each other," Truitt wrote.

Truitt gave "Tomorrowland" a rating of 3 out of 4 stars, citing that despite the messaging, "the film is done well enough."

However, Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal thought that the film was "an argument about nothing less than the future." Even though he thought the visuals were stunning, in his opinion the film "never comes together as coherent drama in the here and now."

"In the larger scheme of things, though-the maddeningly fragmented scheme of the script-this is merely one version of a tomorrow that will be determined by how we see it, and what we do about it," Morgenstern wrote. "In another version, humanity comes to a bad end."

Morganstern elaborated on the different, conflicting attitudes as shown by Frank Walker and Casey Newton. He did note that from a drama perspective, it presented "a problem throughout the script."

"He's a pessimist and a hermit until she draws him out of his self-imposed solitude," Morganstern wrote. "He was once a boy genius and joyous inventor until disillusion about humanity set in. She's an optimist, an irrepressible life force."

However, Morganstern did touch on the film's overall theme.

"In 'Tomorrowland,' it's the fears of society as a whole that threaten to make global disaster a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it's teamwork by the family of man (and woman) that is needed to turn things around," Morganstern wrote.

In the end, Morganstern thought that the film became too abstract in certain parts, which could have been saved with some dramatic elements.

"What this film eventually chooses to be is a flat-footed celebration of the dreamers and doers who will make our future bright," Morganstern wrote. "It's a polemic in favor of positive thinking."

"Tomorrowland" is rated PG and now out in U.S. theaters.


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