Britt Robertson in TOMORROWLAND

I finally watched Tomorrowland and it is actually quite a fun movie. But it is also A Movie With A Message and the gut-wrenching irony of the situation is that a film that calls out people on their apathy to the state of this planet–our world–is exactly the reason why this film did not succeed. This is the point where anyone who bothered to click on the link to this piece leaves. Because who wants to have a mirror held up to their apathy right?

Look around you fellow humans, our planet is an increasingly inhospitable place. From rising temperature to rising intolerance we’ve got it all when it comes to celebrating looking after numero uno while disregarding everything and everyone else. The populace at large couldn’t care less about global warming, the increasing wage gap, or rampant mistrust of their neighbours if they tried.

Enter Brad Bird, a filmmaker who leapt the divide between animated cinema and live action cinema and achieved a hit in each form of filmmaking with The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Nobody makes that switch, not successfully, I’m mean that man has got to be cut off at the knees, who does he think he is?! So naturally Tomorrowland is a box office failure and the world is at peace again. Because yeah dude, who wants to be lectured to? Let’s get a ScarJo jam up in here, knowhwhatI’msaying?

Okay rant over, now here are the reasons why–selon moi–this movie didn’t work at the box office:

  • The marketing wasn’t quite able to tell us what this movie was. I’ve watched the movie and I still don’t know what it is. And it really doesn’t help that a lot of trivia about the film highlights how it is inspired by Walt Disney’s concept for the Tomorrowland theme parks.
  • Britt Robertson’s Bollywood-style histrionics just don’t sell the tale. I wish they had spent more time drawing our attention to Athena played by Raffey Cassidy. I can imagine that character’s search for a heart, and purpose, would have played a lot better in the marketing than ‘spunky’ Casey Newton’s search for the land she saw when she touched a pin.
  • The presence of Grumpy George (Clooney) isn’t exactly an invitation to forking over money to watch a movie on a big screen. We–the movie-going populace–much prefer charming rakish Gregarious George.
  • While I enjoyed the journey, that finale sure got me down. It was a little too cartoon Disney for my liking. All it was missing was a “gee Pops, I hope the world gets better soon” line of dialogue in the end. Considering Casey’s brother is played by that badass kid (Pierce Gagnon) from Looper I cannot adequately articulate how disappointing it is to watch him be the sweet little brother with zero edge in this one.

I think Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani when it comes to wrapping the bitter pill of a moral at the end of a story inside the sweet confection of a mainstream cinematic narrative. The man goes from strength-to-strength as far as delivering big screen success is concerned so clearly he knows something others don’t.

I am confident that Tomorrowland is going to find its audience in the VOD/streaming afterlife where a lot of box office failures flourish. This movie definitely has heart, too bad it was hobbled by the need to club viewers over the head with a message.