Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Tomorrowland (2015)

Brad Bird's latest is an absolute delight.

Directed by Brad Bird
Produced by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeffrey Chernov
Written by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeff Jensen
Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key


Primarily associated with his Oscar-winning efforts in animated films, Brad Bird returns with his second live-action feature, and another great film to boot. Casey Newton (Robertson) is an intellectual dreamer who wants to save her father's job at NASA. When a highly-advanced AI robot called Athena (Cassidy) gives her a strange pin, Casey is briefly transported to Tomorrowland, a futuristic world with incredible technology. It turns out things are bigger than she realized, and Casey is taken by Athena to join forces with Frank Walker (Clooney), a hermitic science whiz who was cast out of Tomorrowland years ago. The fate of Earth means returning to the other world, if Casey, Athena, and Frank can find their way back.

Brad Bird specializes in charming, nostalgic worlds of the fantastical, and Tomorrowland is a no-holds-barred foray into delightful, unabashed family entertainment. If the film has faults, it might be the light-handed approach, which can be fleeting and perhaps too sentimental, or its loose handling of scientific information; but Bird keeps things moving in the right direction. Really, the film is a rush. Not many sci-fi adventure films move as swiftly and confidently, and most of them lack the sheer joy that flows through every scene. As the film demonstrates, Bird makes movies with a passion, with heartfelt stories and little moments of wonder. Of course, the cast all perform well (Raffey Cassidy, in particular, is an excellent discovery), and the film is a technical powerhouse. Though, it all boils down to the director's vision, which has happily translated to this beautiful rendering of dreams and fantasies. If films can be as creative and enjoyable as this, Tomorrowland proves that Brad Bird will continue to dazzle audiences in the future.

Oscar Potential: Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects


  1. I really responded to this. I thought that the end fell apart, plot wise (it doesn't do a great job of explaining itself), but getting there was a blast! I also really loved Thomas Robinson. He's adorable and needs to have a big career. Such wonder in those eyes.

    1. Yeah, the film wasn't exactly airtight, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I had the same sense of wonder rewatching The Iron Giant a couple of months ago. Robinson was good, but I'm doing my campaigning for Cassidy.

  2. Count me in as another who enjoyed it. The film has heart. Fine review, Josh.

    1. Thanks, Michael! Glad to hear you're also a fan of the film.