Ben Oliver

Banner image for Tomorrowland


Every day is the opportunity for a better tomorrow.
17 October 2015

George Clooney stars as world-weary inventor and former boy-genius who once inhabited Tomorrowland, a place located in an alternate reality. He runs into Britt Robertson, a bright teenager keen to go back there and fix what went wrong.

Tomorrowland begins with the typical start-at-the-end-then-rewind idea that gets used and abused far too much. This scene lasts far too long; Clooney and Robertson share in some friendly repartee as they decide who can tell the story better. It feels like delaying tactics before getting the story under way, never a good sign.

Then we sweep back in time to Clooney’s childhood, with even more build-up to the main show. However at this point we’re well over an hour into the film and things are dragging on.

This is typical of the whole film. It’s building to something that isn’t there - like a crescendo that never quite ends right. As the final third comes in, there’s nothing to be revealed, nothing to be said of any interest, just lots of loose ends and unanswered questions.

The central idea is solid though. The notion that the tinkerers and dreamers are the ones that make the future is an attractive one. We must fuel optimism in order to brighten the days to come. Tomorrowland is a place built to symbolise the beauty of ingenuity and creativity, something that could be really exciting to see on film.

Sadly, in practice Bird does not come close to inspiring this level of awe and wonderment in the audience. The visuals are sumptuous but the story is just too fragmented and nonsensical. Many elements aren’t clearly explained, which is fine, but we are made to feel as though we missed something, which is not fair.

Tomorrowland is a beautiful, immaculately designed mess of a story. Unfortunately, visual effects aren’t enough to save the film and ultimately it’s a confusing and frustrating experience. Very disappointing.