This great family movie is a wonderful wake-up call, and an amazing adventure rolled up into one somewhat confusing journey. It starts with a short cartoon about history and progress, and how everything man creates to better his world usually ends up getting to destroy it. Then we discover there is a secret place where artists and engineers can work together without government intervention to make the world a brighter, cleaner, and healthier place. A place that does not fear science or art, and when one tries to take in a bit of culture, they do not be berated and told to remember their place. This place was design by four of the most brilliant men of the 19th Century. Tomas Edison, Nikolai Tesla, Jules Verne, and Gustave Eiffel. The cartoon ends, and our story starts where we see Frank Walker (George Clooney) in the process of recording some sort of video about an upcoming doomsday. We hear the the voice of a young woman criticizing his words, offering up suggestions on other ways he might want to get the message across. He decides to tell his story from where it all began for him. Frank was an very young, aspiring inventor on his way to the 1964 World’s Fair. Most likely one of the most futuristic expos at the time. The set looks like something right out of The Jetsons, but this expo was a real place, and it was done during a time when the Space Age was at its height, and the sky was no longer the limit.
At the time, Frank was a young teen, with a jetpack built by recycled vacuum cleaner parts and other household goods, and with not one bit of help or support by his family. The jetpack could get a good boost of speed, but could not give the driver any kind of altitude. Young Frank (Thomas Robinson) meets with Mr. Nix (Hugh Laurie) in the Inventors’ Hall, but his machine make no impression on the judge, however, a young girl, Athena (Raffey Cassidy), sees there is more to Frank than a jetpack that is still a work in progress. She gives him a pin, and tells him to follow her and the other judges, but not to be spotted. Frank clips on the pin, and sneaks on to the “It’s a Small World” ride in an empty boat behind them. As he goes through a tunnel, a laser scans his pin, and his is taken for a new kind of thrill ride, as the boat plunges down an incline, and stops at what looks like a small train station. Frank goes in, then is tossed around for a bit, and comes out into Tomorrowland. This place is a dream come true for Frank, and it soon becomes his home for about a decade.
Fast forward about fifty years. Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is the daughter of NASA engineer, Eddie Newton (Tim McGraw). She lives with her family in Cape Canaveral, and is discouraged about the lack of ingenuity and apathy towards the Space Program lately. She sneaks out at night to sabotage the equipment used to tear down the launch platforms in order to keep her father’s job secure, but is doing so with little success. Athena, the girl Frank met in 1964, is actually an Audio-Animitron designed to find people like Frank and Casey. People who want to fix this broken world. Athena has been observing Casey and feels it is time to reel her in. After a day of dismal news in just about every class at high school, she finally asks her English teacher (Paul McGillion), “Can we fix it?” The only answer she gets is a creepy collective stare from everyone in the classroom, but she does not let that deter her from attempting to sabotage the cranes at the launchpad again. This time she gets busted, and spends some time in the local lock-up. She finds a pin that is not hers with her things, but when she picks it up, she sees she is in a wheat field, then drops it when she becomes startled. After some strange comings and going between this world and that one, and a bad attempt to explain things to her dad, Casey takes it upon herself to find that field and where it leads to. Where it leads to at first is some bumps and bruises, but once she is able to explore without barriers, the alternate world blows her away. Sadly, her time there is limited, and soon, she runs into Athena, and the ladies set to a roadtrip that takes them from Texas to New York, a quick trip to Paris, then into Tomorrowland as it currently is.
Remember Mr. Nix? He’s been running things in Tomorrowland, and the place looks much different than it did when Frank and Casey saw it. What Frank and Casey saw were previews of a place that was going to go public in 1984, but it never happened. Thanks to all the bad choices people have made over the last fifty years, Tomorrowland has suffered, and the dreamtown of the future may never come to be. Mr. Nix has been sending his AA’s (Audio-Animitrons) to hunt down Athena and stop any more outsiders from coming in and stopping things completely. Casey gets to see a very bleak near future for us all, and works with Frank and Athena to stop Mr. Nix from making it a reality.
There is a lesson to be learned in this Disney-ish confusion, and hopefully it did not got unnoticed. Don’t stop dreaming, and don’t stop believing and supporting those whom have the ability to bring in good changes for the better. Tomorrowland did not sell fear, but that is what we have been buying, in so many ways. Stop buying fear, and stop those who are selling it from creating more…. unless they are in the horror genre, but that is another story!
I give this film a Musing review of