Tomorrowland fails to follow through with its vision and turns into a meandering, cliched, bait and switch mess.

Bound by a shared destiny, a bright, optimistic teen (Britt Robertson) bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor (George Clooney) jaded by disillusionment embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as “Tomorrowland.”

True enough, Tomorrowland did deliver a wonderful vision.

It has a landscape of towering curved skyscrapers and looping highways with a retro-chic fashion sense. It does look like a place of infinite possibilities with kids zipping through the air on jetpacks, diving through swimming pool columns, and hopping on board just in time for astronaut school.

Instead of the typical dystopia that the YA-book-turned franchises has turned into teen pandering entertainment, Tomorrowland offers hope and optimism.

There’s a potentially engaging, fun and thought provoking story about a place where you can create anything you want, free from the douchebaggery of mankind (greed, politics, copyright).

It has a solid cast with George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy and Hugh Laurie. Everyone did well with what they’re given – except for Clooney who’s just going through the motions – but Cassidy steals the spotlight from everyone as Athena.

However, all these elements are wasted as the movie takes a lengthy detour after a promising first half.

It spends most of its time out of Tomorrowland. The plot follows Casey and turns into an action thriller that’s mashup of Men in Black and reverse Wizard of Oz.

The human characters are all one dimensional – a Pollyanna on wheels, a bitter old man and a cardboard villain.

The story devolves into a mix of famous cliches such as the rag tag of squabbling misfits forced to save the world, Molder and Scully version 2.0, and unrequited first love. The action is polished and fun (with cameos from familiar faces), but it would have been better if you knew what was going on.

[Highlight if you want spoilers] For some reason there are robots. For some reason everything turned into shit. For some reason, the brightest and most creative thinkers who are the most qualified to solve the problem are kicked out. The villain leaves the fate of the world in the hands of the average people, all of whom predictably do nothing. 

The movie piles up questions that it barely answers (while preaching hope literally and figuratively) and then ends with a rushed narrative payoff (and a token nod to diversity) that finishes with a predictable emotionally manipulating ending that borders on creepy.

Tomorrowland is a bait and switch cash grab. It’s too serious and violent for kids while too preachy and not fun enough for adults. The film could have been better if the makers followed the vision of its sci-tech utopia, but they preferred to stay safe in the world of Hollywood blockbuster mediocrity.

My Rating: 6/10

Alternative Movie Poster by Kevin Tong

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