Cataline Does Not Recommend: Tomorrowland

When I googled Tomorrowland to fact check myself the first return from google was one word. “Canceled.”

That pretty much says it all but you probably want a little more than that. My reaction to the trailer was, to put it mildly positive.

This is going to be so cool, I had thought to myself when I first saw the trailer it. A science-fiction Hogwarts. Okay, I can get into this. And Brad Bird is doing this? It is going to be the most amazing thing ever.

But I never got any of the things I thought I was going to.

I was serious about it looking like a science fiction Hogwarts. The trailer seemed to be following the Harry Potter plotline didn’t it?  The girl who is supposed to playing a teenager (put a pin in that one, we’re going back to it) is at a police station getting her effects.  First impression is that she’s had a bit of a hard-knock life.  Things are going downhill for her, she’s already having minor scrapes with the law. Then she touches the T pin.  Pretty quickly you get the idea that this is their version of the Owl Delivered Letter of Invitation.

“Come join us in Tomorrowland!  Look at all the super cool futury stuff we got.

If you were going by the trailer, your not off the wall assumption, was that, you’d be introduced to the character, get to know her problems for a little bit.  Then she touches the pin and sets off to find George Clooney (for reasons that weren’t clear in the trailer but it’s a trailer so give it a pass).  After some “old man grumbling,” they would set out on a quest to enter Tomorrowland.  You figure Casey (that’s the girl) will be arriving there about twenty minutes or so into the movie. And the rest of the movie will be spent there. You get the idea that George Clooney is going to be her recruiter for this special place because she is so very extra special, (that stuff about driving her way was clearly just a test). And only she can save Tomorrowland from whatever it is that’s about to destroy it because she is The One (just like Harry Potter).  Which means she’s basically a Mary Sue (so was Harry Potter) but I was willing to forgive a lot in order to get this story.  Hell I was willing to see a movie with George Clooney in it.

But nope.  Sorry.  They didn’t make that movie.  The movie they made is about an extended chase sequence and when you finally reach the place where dreams of the future become reality… 

It’s already destroyed.

Thanks Disney!

The story begins at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  It was a beautiful reproduction. 

Then it was gone.

That sequence lasted a little under ten minutes.  It introduced George Clooney’s character when he is a young boy genius.  He meets a robot girl who appears to be about twelve and the boy falls in love with her.

For the rest of his life.  

Seriously, that is the vibe that you get from this.  That old George Clooney is still in love with this robot that appears to be a twelve-year-old girl.   Nothing creepy there.

Anyway, we are next introduced to the oldest teenager this side of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Her name is Casey, the actress portraying her was twenty-five at the time. She was supposed to be about fifteen or so.  While that was a little jarring, the robot girl is more so, therefore I decided to let the former slide.  Anyway, it takes about twenty-five minutes to get Casey to George Clooney’s front door.  It takes another half hour of pointless chase scenes to finally get her to Tomorrowland and it’s a freaking wasteland.  The only thing there is a pissed off Hugh Laurie.

The reason Hugh is pissed is that when George Clooney was a kid working in Tomorrowland, he invented a machine that could accurately predict the future.  The problem was that his machine precisely foretold when the world was going to end, (which was within a month or so of the film’s release).  Tomorrowland fell apart because of the pessimism this inspired, and Clooney was exiled.

The ridiculous part is that this 100% certainty of catastrophic annihilation is easily averted just by being optimistic about the future.

And blowing up the damn machine!

The epilogue is that George and the spunky girl protagonist are getting Tomorrowland up and running again better than ever because they are making it diverse, inclusive, SJW friendly, and they aren’t just bringing in the best of the best anymore. ANYONE is welcome now!

Was there anything I liked?

Well, I will give it this much.  This picture got something right that I have never seen anyone else ever get close to. This was the first movie I have ever seen that got the vibe of the Heinlein Juveniles.  None of the films made from Heinlein stories ever got close and I’m not kidding, Bird managed it.  The Precocious Girl.  The Old Man Mentor.  The sudden danger coming out of nowhere to pursue them.  The elements, and more importantly, the flavor was there.  The comic bookstore owner whose name was Hugo Gernsback was a great touch, as were the fifties toy science fiction guns that could actually blow holes in walls.  All of that stuff worked.

Also, I liked the very, very brief time that we got see Tomorrowland before George Clooney showed up and fucked everything up.

There. I liked some things.  I said so and everything.

If you want to watch it just for the effects that’s fine but turn it off after the Eiffel Tower scene because it sucks after that. 

Or you can just watch this scene because this all of the Tomorrowland, you’d be getting anyway


Cataline does NOT recommend.

5 thoughts on “Cataline Does Not Recommend: Tomorrowland

  1. I blame Damon Lindelof. Behold his cavalcade of suck:

    If you want a deeper understanding of WHY he sucks, check out the special features on the Prometheus Blu-ray. The TL:DR is that they had a pretty sweet and carefully thought-out prequel to Alien ready to go before he came aboard and almost single-handedly ruined it, with Ridley’s blessing.

    Also, his Lost Emmy is featured prominently in the frame of every intervierw he’s in, which is enough to violently hate him even absent his other crimes.


  2. “Which means she’s basically a Mary Sue (so was Harry Potter)”

    So true. I’ve recently come to realize that Harry and Hermione were both Rowling’s Mary Sues: Hermione was her “look how clever I am” Mary Sue, Harry her “look how deep and special my emotions are” Mary Sue. Perhaps that’s the real reason H&H don’t end up together – Rowling being weirded out by the idea of shipping herself with herself.


    1. I knew she had no plan to do it but back when I read the Potter books, I kept hoping Rowling was going to pull off the best twist of all time: Harry, her Mary-Sue, wasn’t the chosen one. Neville Longbottom was and it was all a dark and devious ploy of misdirection to distract Voldemort and his minions. Snape was in on it and it only adds to his complex feelings regarding Harry. But at the same time, I knew she didn’t have the guts for such twist.


  3. It’s the Love/ Sacrifice / Resentment / Pride triad: Harry vs. Severus vs. Tom. All half-blood misfits. All born to natural power. Each choosing – to his own degree – to set aside pride, resentment for caritas.

    The Mary-su-ific elements are a distraction. Though Ron would’ve been a good match for Hermione if he’d learned game.


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