Tomorrowland (2015)
May 23, 2015 4:34 PM - Subscribe

A teenage science prodigy discovers a pin that transports her to a fantastical city of the future. Her quest to find the city leads her to a former boy genius, a mysterious girl and pursuit by nameless agents with the goal of killing her before she discovers the truth of Tomorrowland.
posted by Atreides (17 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I enjoyed it, though I felt myself fighting off the preconception that I shouldn't, based off the opinions of a number of folks. I actually look forward to watching this again where the predominant theme in my head was, "You really enjoyed this!" It's great to see the idea that the future can mean so many good things packed into the message of a movie.
posted by Atreides at 3:27 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I liked this in spite of some flaws. Visually and conceptually I thought it was really cool, and my kids were pretty into it. I loved the back-and-forth banter between the characters and I liked the message.
posted by sleeping bear at 8:27 PM on May 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is precisely the sort of utopian movie that I should like - and I really loved Casey's optimism at the start. The big problem was the classic 'Lindelof syndrome' of people inexplicably withholding crucial, life-threatening information from one another, along with the uneven ending that hinged on Hugh Laurie's single speech.
posted by adrianhon at 8:19 AM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]




I enjoyed this movie quite a lot, flaws and all. (Just like I enjoyed another movie that Disney effed up the marketing for, John Carter.) This Collider article really rang true for me: "In Defense of Tomorrowland"
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:15 AM on May 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


I liked it too, even though it's full of plot/logic holes and some bits of silly writing. Glad to see others did too.



A few questions - not really in the spirit of nitpicking but just because maybe other people had satisfactory answers for these -

1) The pin
The rules of world-overlap when she touches the pin - I enjoyed the idea of this constraint, where initially she can run into real-world objects that she can't see when she's seeing the wheat field or the city. But the constraint turns out not to have been a fact about Tomorrowland, instead it's because she wasn't really sent to Tomorrowland in those initial shots, right? She was being played a holographic ad, which is overlaid on her real physical surroundings.

Frank at the World's Fair, his pin is scanned and then he's sent to a transport device which is what takes him to Tomorrowland.

But at the end, the new recruits touch their pins and all show up in the same field, despite being in different locations on earth. So, are their pins actually transporting them rather than playing a holograph for them?


2) The timeline/factual history of Tomorrowland
Ok, so when they're in the Eiffel rocket, out in space, Clooney says words to the effect of "we're about to go into another dimension" -- so, Tomorrowland is in another dimension. And Edison, Tesla, et al discovered that dimension and a way to get there. So when they first went, there was no city and no people? So they recruited an initial team of dreamers, who eventually built a city, and robots to recruit more dreamers, and Hugh Laurie is one of those dreamers that got recruited (or a descendant of one of them)?

Clooney says that the pin plays a fake advertisement, that the city it shows never existed. But when he's a kid, he goes to a real place where his jetpack interacts with the objects there, and he flies around bumping into buildings and stuff and lands in a populated city in front of Hugh Laurie. So there was a city with buildings and whatnot, when he was a kid. (And this clip says that at the 1964 World's Fair, the Plus Ultra society was "now building" the city and planned to unveil it in 20 years - 1984. Say Frank is 12 in 1964, he'd be 32 in 1984.) Later we find out that the unveiling never happened "because they built something they shouldn't have" - the Monitor. So before 1984 the Monitor must have been going for long enough to convince them to stop the planned opening.

It says Frank was exiled years ago because he had given up hope (due to what the Monitor was showing them); and Athena says she last checked the (something) on the transmitter that sends them to Paris "25 years ago" (1990, Frank would be 38).

When they show up in the city, it's shabby and depopulated. Why? Hugh Laurie says that earth being destroyed won't affect Tomorrowland - so why would everybody leave?


3. The framing scenes
At the beginning, Frank and Casey are bickering over how to tell the story, should they start with his pessimism or should they start with her optimism/his childhood. And behind them is that ticking vacuum-tube clock, still ticking.

Who are they telling the story to -- the army of new robot recruiters they build? (Wouldn't they just put it in their programming?) Or is it for some kind of orientation video for new recruits?

The ticking clock suggests the doomsday scenario is still 58 days away (or whatever number)... which makes sense. They've only disabled the Monitor, they haven't reversed its effects on people, so maybe now there's only a (say) 99% chance of destruction? Are they recruiting people to save earth, or just to rescue them from earth when it's destroyed?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:23 AM on May 31, 2015


I agree with some of the Collider review - it would be nice to see more in the second half to bear out Casey's engineering prowess. I love her in the first half, but once she falls in with Frank, she gets pushed more and more to the role of Inert Hopefulness Beacon, rather than getting to actually save the day. I like her interactions with both Frank and Athena, and their interactions with each other, and I like Athena's finally getting to make use of the time-preview at the end, and that Athena is the one who comes up with the plan to save the day. But I agree with the Collider review that it would have been interesting to see what happened if Clooney and Laurie really had gotten stuck on the desert island and left Athena and Casey to figure things out on their own. (Even though Clooney and Laurie are great.)

But I think the female characters are great, the relationship stuff is handled well, there's no gross love interest for Casey. I like Clooney's house. I like the message, and I like that this is a movie for kids/families with no crappy parts that are awful shoehorned in for the PG-13 rating or whatever. We went to a late showing, ending at midnight, and there were a bunch of families with kids.

I'm interested to hear if kids liked it, or what they thought of it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:54 AM on May 31, 2015


But the constraint turns out not to have been a fact about Tomorrowland, instead it's because she wasn't really sent to Tomorrowland in those initial shots, right? She was being played a holographic ad, which is overlaid on her real physical surroundings.

Right. It was always a super immersive holograph.

But at the end, the new recruits touch their pins and all show up in the same field, despite being in different locations on earth. So, are their pins actually transporting them rather than playing a holograph for them?

I think they're all just experiencing the same hologram that Casey enjoyed, though it'd make a little sense if it was tweaked some. The real question was whether they could actually see each other.

So when they first went, there was no city and no people? So they recruited an initial team of dreamers, who eventually built a city, and robots to recruit more dreamers, and Hugh Laurie is one of those dreamers that got recruited (or a descendant of one of them)?


Right on. There's a series of animations which tell the story of Tomorrowland, which I skipped because I wanted the detailed background to be vague (I had a slight idea). Here's one on the origin of Plus Ultra which is in the format of a "Welcome!" video to people like Frank at the time of the world's fair. There's others, but I haven't the time to hunt them down.

When they show up in the city, it's shabby and depopulated. Why? Hugh Laurie says that earth being destroyed won't affect Tomorrowland - so why would everybody leave?

There's people there, but they're almost entirely out of sight until the end after the device is destroyed. My thought was that under Nix's governance, a certain level of creativity and imagination was squashed and undermined. Not by specific instruction, but just as a result of his rule. Also, the purpose of the city pretty much vanished, and so many may have lost their inspiration to make it wonderful.

Who are they telling the story to -- the army of new robot recruiters they build? (Wouldn't they just put it in their programming?) Or is it for some kind of orientation video for new recruits?

They are telling both the robot recruiters, but also the people of Tomorrowland (and some of the new people, like her father?). The countdown clock pushed back, I thought? It's at a later time schedule?
posted by Atreides at 12:07 PM on May 31, 2015


Ken Levine reviews Tomorrowland
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:46 PM on June 13, 2015


I really liked it. I was blown away and surprised it hasn't been a hit. I say this as a born pessimist: I really appreciated that this movie was optimistic. Though I did think, "Hey, if broadcasting the doom and gloom made everyone depressed and got them used to the idea, maybe if you just changed what it broadcasts to something more happy, maybe that would help fix things." It's hard to be optimistic when you are surrounded by a sea of shit and can't see a way out of the oubliette.

I want to find out more about this world. I went out and bought Before Tomorrowland (a book written by the movie creators, takes place in 1939), but I can't say I was super into it. The plot is kind of weird (why a dying comic book artist is being invited into the fold a few months before her death, I don't know, along with her not-into-this son, as all this drama is erupting around them) and it didn't really get into actual Tomorrowland much--seems to take place around the time of it's discovery right before colonization. I'll get around to writing a review online at some point, but it wasn't what I was expecting. Does anyone know anything about the ARG I saw mentioned on TV Tropes? I'm not really into that sort of thing myself usually, but now i wonder.

On another note, I just came back from Disneyland and they do NOT sell Tomorrowland pins there. They are completely out until July. I am really mad about that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:09 PM on June 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


On another note, I just came back from Disneyland and they do NOT sell Tomorrowland pins there. They are completely out until July. I am really mad about that.

That's bonkers.

I actually would love a car decal to slap on my vehicle.

I hadn't heard about the ARG, but gosh, it happened back in 2013? That's quite a bit of early marketing! Here's a link that has a summary with links to more info.
posted by Atreides at 11:11 AM on June 15, 2015


I was in Disneyland back in the spring, and they had a dedicated preview theater with all sorts of fun 'reality' effects, like shaking seats, and wind in the face (when frank is falling off the tower as a kid), and it was great fun and really made me eager to see the movie. too bad a lot of bad press and busy schedule didn't allow me to see it sooner.
My son and I went last night and enjoyed it. It was a bit preachy for my tastes, but good performances by all (Keegan-Michael Key!).
I'll bet the gal who played Athena will be in a Mary Poppins remake some day.
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I saw this! I was surprised how much I liked it, cause the press was so bad. It's basically about climate change? And also super violent? But I liked that there a long stretch where the only heroes are two girls.

Also, wow that was a LOT of Star Wars branding in that shop. Vertical Intergration y'all.

I also wished Tomorrowland had more of a period Sci-fi look. It was super Mass Effect/Caprica City/Hudson Yards and I feel like I've seen that future for over ten years. Not every future needs to look like Toronto.
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


But yeah it's big problem is selling us huge story points the movie ..never ..quite ...explains.

It's kind of maddeningly vague on how all this works and not in a hand wavey star treky kind of way but in a basic plot beat kinda way.

Although I did like that the future vision thing paid off.
posted by The Whelk at 10:16 PM on December 26, 2015


Part of me was super into the 1964 parts and kind of wanted a whole movie on setting up Tomorrowland and how it fell apart and I guess my favorite parts are when it was basically a good Bioshock sequel.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


This was a lot better, and a lot more fun, than I expected from the so-so reviews at the time.

Also, wow that was a LOT of Star Wars branding in that shop. Vertical Intergration y'all.

I also noticed a sneaky little piece of Iron Giant memorabilia in one shot.

(And the robot shopkeeper's name: Hugo Gernsback.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:42 PM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


This was a way better movie than the reviews/buzz suggested.
posted by mazola at 10:49 AM on April 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


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