On the weekend I finally watched Disney’s Tomorrowland. I sort-of remembered its theatre run, which was underwhelming (apparently it lost over $100 million dollars, based on its production and marketing costs vs. its box-office take).
The story in a nutshell: As a boy, Frank Walker goes to live in a retro-future paradise, till he’s booted out for some crime that remains unspecified until nearly the end of the movie. He grows up into a bitter, bitter man (played by George Clooney). Meanwhile, Casey (Britt Robertson) might be the key to Frank’s return to Tomorrowland, and also the key to, you know, staving off the seemingly inevitable end of the world. Facing off against them is Nix (Hugh Laurie) and his army of
skinjobs Audio-Animatronic robots.
I thought it was a decent movie, worth a watch, even if it was unsubtle. The scene in the Texas collectibles store (Blast From the Past), where Casey squares off against evil AA ’bots Hugo* and Ursula, was chockablock with reminders that Disney bought Star Wars. Some of the AAs were pretty creepy, especially the manically-grinning leader of the Men-in-Black–styled “Secret Service” squad.
In a world that seems to prefer its entertainment on the grim & gritty side, optimistic SF is a hard sell. It has a tendency to come off preachy or heavy-handed, and this movie didn’t manage to evade those pitfalls. I’m still glad I watched it, though.
It’s an interesting companion to Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays, which I read a few months ago, in that both explore the idea of alternate futures, especially the sorts of futures we seemed to expect in the 1950s (flying cars! shining towers! personal jetpacks!).
* Hugo Gernsback, because of course.