Tomorrowland (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
October 20, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Tomorrowland” is a film that had potential. But unfortunately, its a film that fails to capture the Disney magic that we expect too often and “Tomorrowland” becomes more of a visual treat with an intriguing, yet disjointed storyline.
FILM RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: 130 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:20:1 Aspect Ratio), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Audio Description Track 2.0, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
RATED: PG (For sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements and language)
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Directed by Brad Bird
Screenplay by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird
Story by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeff Jensen
Executive Producers: Bernard Bellew, Brigham Taylor
Produced by Brad Bird, Jeffrey Chernov, Damon Lindelof
Associate Producer: Debbi Bossi
Music by Michael Giacchino
Cinematography by Claudio Miranda
Edited by Walter Murch, Craig Wood
Casting by Corinne Clark, Jennifer Page, April Webster, Alyssa Weisterg
Production Design by Scott Chamblis
Set Decoration by Lin MacDonald
Costume Design by Jeffrey Kurland
George Clooney as Frank Walker
Hugh Laurie as Nix
Britt Robertson as Casey Newton
Raffey Cassidy as Athena
Tim McGraw as Eddie Newton
Kathryn Hahn as Ursula
Keegan-Michael Key as Hugo
Thomas Robinson as Young Frank
In Disney’s riveting mystery adventure TOMORROWLAND, a jaded inventor and an optimistic teen embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space.
From the director and writer Brad Bird (“Ratatouille”, “The Incredibles”, “The Simpsons”) and co-writer/producer Damon Lindelof (“Lost”, “Prometheus”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”) comes the big budget Disney film “Tomorrowland”.
The film stars George Clooney (“Gravity”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Up in the Air”), Hugh Laurie (“House M.D.”, “Veep”), Britt Robertson (“The Longest Ride”, “The First Time”, “Dan in Real Life”), Raffey Cassidy (“Snow White and the Huntsman”, “Dark Shadows”) and country singer Tim McGraw.
And in October 2015, the Disney film was released on Blu-ray and DVD.
“Tomorrowland” begins with an adult Frank Walker (portrayed by George Clooney) telling his story about the first time he went to the 1964 New York World’s Fair as a child.
The film shows a young Frank Walker showcasing his jetpack invention (which he hasn’t perfected yet) but wants to introduce it to official David Nix (portrayed by Hugh Laurie), who is not impressed.
But young Frank does capture the attention of a young girl named Athena (portrayed by Raffey Cassidy). She gives him a pin and tells him to follow her aboard the fair’s “It’s a Small World” attraction.
As Frank goes to follow her, he enters a vehicle which takes him to the futuristic cityscape known as Tomorrowland.
He immediately falls from the vehicle and his jetpack is repaired by a robot. But as Frank falls many feet down, he is able to rescue himself thanks to his jet pack and lands in front of David and Athena.
Fastforward to the future and Casey Newton (portrayed by Britt Robertson) tells her story. Casey is seen sneaking into a decommissioned NASA launch pad in Cape Canaveral, where her father works as an engineer and will be losing his job. In order to prevent that happening, she keeps sabotaging the launch pad but while Casey is sabotaging the launch pad, Athena has come and programs Casey’s DNA into her motorcycle helmet.
As Casey tries to break into the NASA launch pad again, she is caught and arrested.
Casey manages to make bail and leaves with her belongings, but one does not belong to her… a pin. When she goes to touch it, she is whisked to another world (Tomorrowland) which shocks her.
While Casey is in big trouble by her father, she continues to research the pin and her younger brother finds out that the pin is from the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Casey leaves to find the origins of the pin and why it has special abilities, but as Athena is trying to look for Casey, so are killer robots from the alternate world who are determined in stopping her.
“Tomorrowland” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:20:1 aspect ratio). The film features amazing clarity, with outdoor scenes being vibrant. But the visuals of Tomorrowland and its futuristic landscapes is probably a huge positive for the film. For the most part, “Tomorrowland” looks fantastic in HD, skin tones look natural, CG is well-done and videophiles should be pleased with the overall picture quality.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Tomorrowland” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Audio Description Track 2.0 and a French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. The lossless soundtrack is very immersive as the scenes with Young Frank Walker on jetpack sounds amazing, to the blasts made by the robots in the shop sounds amazing, as well as the numerous action sequences. Dialogue and music is crystal clear but the surround channels definitely deliver a wonderful immersive experience.
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Tomorrowland” comes with the following special features:
- Animated Short: The Origins of Plus Ultra – (3:26) A short that takes place during the ’60s and introduces the organization known as “Plus Ultra” and the World Fair.
- Remembering the Future: A Personal Journey through Tomorrowland with Brad Bird– (7:09) Brad Bird talks about the film and the Disney “Tomorrowland” amusement park attraction.
- Casting Tomorrowland – (7:27) A featurette with the cast of “Tomorrowland”.
- A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session – (6:03) A featurette with composer Michael Giacchino who shows us the recording process for “Tomorrowland”.
- The World of Tomorrow Science Hour – Hosted by Futurologist David Nix – (5:08) Excerpts from an old school 1965 educational program promoting Disney’s attraction, “Tomorrowland”.
- Brad Bird Production Diaries – (1:47) A two-part featurette that includes “The First Day” and “NASA” (2:46) hosted by director Brad Bird.
- Blast from the Past Commercial – (:41) An ad featuring Ursula and Hugo.
- Deleted Scenes with filmmaker Introductions – Featuring six deleted scenes with an introduction by Brad Bird.
“Tomorrowland” comes with a slipcover and Disney Movie Rewards code. A Blu-ray and DVD version of the film is included and with the entering of the code, will give you access to Digital HD version online.
While Disney has had its success in the box office for the last 25-years and it has been rare to see a film underperform in the box office (the last film was “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”), and unfortunately “Tomorrowland” was an expensive film that will be in that list of underperforming films.
While the film had competition, despite the fact that the film stars George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, for a sci-fi adventure film, despite the promotion of the film showcasing the gorgeous visuals, it wasn’t enough to captivate American audiences. Meanwhile, outside of the US, “Tomorrowland” did well in foreign countries.
But watching “Tomorrowland” and thinking of what went right and what went wrong, I will say that the film had a lot of heart and its visual beauty was a big positive for the film. But unfortunately, visuals can only do so much, when the story was average at best.
The story seems a bit uneven as we are introduced to a young Frank Walker who went to Tomorrowland and the film abruptly switches to teenager, Casey Newton who discovers a magical pin that teleports her to Tomorrowland.
We then see robots going after her and also a girl named Athena come to save her and bring her to an older Frank Walker.
In someways, the film has a making of a film that children’s can enjoy, but then you get robots killing police officers and Casey smashing a robot’s head over and over, and you tend to wonder, “who this film is targeting demographically?”.
There is no doubt that George Clooney and Hugh Laurie will appeal to older audiences but aside from the questionable scenes, because of its young co-stars, the film seems more apt for family entertainment but somehow, the film is not sure whether to be a family film or sci-fi adventure with decisions that can lead to dire consequences.
So, I felt that while film had heart and exciting moments, the storyline seemed a bit disjointed. I did enjoy the film but more of a popcorn sci-fi adventure than the top quality Disney films which I want to watch again and again.
As for the Blu-ray release, this is where “Tomorrowland” earns its high marks. You get wonderful picture quality and also a fantastic, immersive lossless soundtrack. You also get numerous special features.
While I had high hopes for this film, considering the star power of Clooney and Laurie, you also have Brad Bird and Damon Lindeloff responsible for the overall film and I have to admit, this was not one of their better films.
Overall, “Tomorrowland” is a film that had potential. But unfortunately, its a film that fails to capture the Disney magic that we expect too often and “Tomorrowland” becomes more of a visual treat with an intriguing, yet disjointed storyline.
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