Monday, November 23, 2015

"Can you stop being so AMAZED?!" - Thoughts on "Tomorrowland" (Also Draw Dinovember Day 17)

Sadly, I have to report right away that as much as I wanted to love it, "Tomorrowland" is just simply not very good.  Fact is, it's the most deeply frustrating film I've seen this year (though note that it's still better than "Jurassic World", which made me violently angry to a degree I haven't experienced since "Armageddon").  But "Tomorrowland" such a noble failure that I feel like I want to be a cheerleader for it anyway.  Kind of. 

Overall, it reminded me a great deal of "Prometheus" in that it showcased the best impulses of the director (Brad Bird in this case) and the very worst impulses of Damon Lindelof.  But it *also* showcases the worst impulses of Brad Bird and the best impulses of Damon Lindelof, if that makes any sense.  It's a Disney "brand deposit" (right now I'm trying to think of a more depressing term than brand deposit and I just... can't) that still manages to be personal and idiosyncratic as hell.  It is, to put it bluntly, somethin' else.

There's a lot to like in "Tomorrowland".  I always appreciate a science fiction film with a female protagonist, and this one gives us more than one, so major points for that (reminder that this shouldn't be as big a deal as it is).  I love how pro-science and being creative and positive the message is, for all it's... lack of subtlety.  And I love, love, love Tomorrowland itself, which is such a wildly imaginative setting that gives me so many Horizons Feels, and I relished the approximately fifteen minutes or so in this two hour, ten minute(!?!) movie that we actually spend there.

Great googa-mooga, I am not kidding about how long "Tomorrowland" is and I wish I was.  It could easily have up to 45 minutes cut, because it also *feels* so much longer.  This screenplay has heard something funny about "show, don't tell" and wants no truck with either the showing or the telling part.  It really is incredible in hindsight how little time we spend in Tomorrowland just soaking in the wonder and the inspiration and how much time we spend riding around in trucks and just talking or arguing (boy howdy, do these characters like to argue from minute one in this movie) about what's going on without really explaining anything or answering any questions that might help the plot make sense.  Why is the main character special?  Why is that one character a robot?  Why were the characters exiled from Tomorrowland?  Why are there bad robots out to get them?  Is Tomorrowland in the future or another dimension?  What happened there to make it crappy?  Is that one character really a villain when he's really just very disappointed with everyone?  And, seriously, what is the deal with all the robots?

On that last note, I must point out that this movie has the most egregious instances of "Oh, it's okay cause they're just robots" I've ever seen.  (Especially when those robots turn out to be real people.  Oops.)

This is a movie that ends with a final shot that would be the opening sequence of an awesome movie.  It never stops being the prologue of the more interesting version of itself.  Honestly, I wonder if "Tomorrowland" would've been more enjoyable if it were a mostly open-ended, exploration-heavy video game?  That is basically what it felt like to me, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes for a weird movie.

Anyway, this is how you do a plain red container:

11.12.15 - Netflix Cardinal

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