The reviews for Tomorrowland were mixed at best (the io9 review said wait until it’s on Netflix and it was at 49% on Rotten Tomatoes) so I was a little hesitant to see it this weekend. But I’m glad I did because I liked it. Spoilers ahead.
It may have helped that I haven’t seen anything else by Brad Bird except Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol* so I had no high expectations from the director. I went in just wanting a couple of hours of entertainment.
While the story falls apart a bit when Casey finally gets to Tomorrowland the movie kept my interest all the way through. I didn’t feel like I was being beat over the head by the message like others. As with a lot of movies what you bring into Tomorrowland will affect what you get out of it. That said I do see the problem with the Galt’s Gulch aspect of the mysterious Tomorrowland. But other parts of the movie spoke to me.
I was born in 1964 which makes me one of the last Baby Boomers. One of my earliest childhood memories is watching men walk on the Moon. Heck, I’ve even been to the Tomorrowland at Disneyland back in the days of the E ticket. Growing up I caught the tail end of the Boomer optimism from reading science fiction from writers such as Heinlein, Clarke, and Asimov as well as watching reruns of the original Star Trek on television.
Sometime in the 1970s I lost my youthful optimism due to what was happening in my own life as well as in the world at large. I gave up on the shiny future of jetbacks and the year I turned eighteen the future was the one of Blade Runner and The Road Warrior. So I get Frank giving up on everything (to be fair he has a really good reason). I’m not a total pessimist, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to go back to college in my 40s and earn a degree.
But I rarely feel that sense of wonder and optimism I used to have. Yes, the movie punts on the question of optimism and gives us a villain instead. But it’s still a question I think about on the occasions when something really makes me stop and say “wow.”
And I would be remiss without a little overthinking, so here goes:
- Just where is Tomorrowland? Someone says it’s another dimension but that’s a bit vague. How was it found?
- How is Tomorrowland society organized? Is it a libertarian paradise or an anarcho-syndicalist commune?
- If everyone there is the best and brightest, who cleans the houses and fixes the toilets (if it’s not robots)? If it is robot labor how do they prevent a robot uprising?
- And the most important question - when will the characters from Once Upon A Time visit Tomorrowland?
*Fine, I’ll get my geek card stamped “No dessert.”