Casey Newton (my surname is also Newton but there is no relation to either Casey or Isaac) is a science obsessed teenager who is arrested after trespassing in Cape Canaveral (NASA intend to demolish it and Casey, played by Britt Robertson, is trying to sabotage this). When the police return her possessions, Casey finds a badge of some sort that when touched transports her to a futuristic utopia full of technological advancements far beyond her imagination. She teams up with a former boy genius (George Clooney) and tries to uncover the secrets of Tomorrowland.
Tomorrowland is a film so jam-packed with ideas that it's almost bursting at the seams and for that it's quite admirable. It's a film that certainly has a lot to say about the human race's contribution to global catastrophe via starvation, war or climate change and it lambasts those who say everything is wrong but offer no real suggestion that would set about fixing all the world's problems. The visuals are also bursting with inventive ideas as Tomorrowland is a visually spectacular film with its incredible and imaginative futuristic worlds and Brad Bird's signatory visual flair.
However, the film may be full of great ideas but really does struggle to tell the story without it feeling clunky or suffering from an occasionally plodding story. The main problem is the stop-start feel of the film where the opening half hour is quite slow and the ending feels rushed as though scriptwriters Damon Lindelof (who seems to be scriptwriter public enemy number one at the moment) and Brad Bird (who also served as director) were under pressure to shorten the run time.
The second issue is how the theme was presented. In 1938 a film called Blockade was released to discredit fascism. It had a young Henry Fonda yell at the camera about the dangers of fascism and it felt as though he was talking directly to the audience. It felt clunky and didn't feel like a character speaking to another character. A very similar thing happens in Tommorowland with Hugh Laurie's David Nix making a speech where he blames humans for the Earth's impending doom. It just feels clunky and lacks subtlety.
Questionable scriptwriting aside Tomorrowland is mostly good fun even though its 130 minute run time could do with a trim. The film is quite light and amusing in places but remains thematically interesting. Brad Bird and his visual effects team do an excellent job at immersing the viewer into the futuristic world and this goes a long way in making Tomorrowland a mostly enjoyable experience. It's clear that Brad Bird's experience in animation is greatly helping him draw the viewer into appreciating such an immersive world.
Brad Bird does a good job in the directing chair, but it's the actors who get the most momentum out of the script. Britt Robertson is highly likable in the lead role and she has good rapport with Clooney and relative newcomer Raffey Cassidy (who both give engaging, solid performances) and Hugh Laurie is also quite impressive in the closest thing the film has to an antagonist. The effective and entertaining performances gives the film an impetuous where Lindelof's inconsistent script failed to generate any.
Tomorrowland is inconsistently paced with its slow start and fast finish, but the terrific performances from the entire cast give the film a vital injection of impetuous that it desperately needed.