WARNING: this blog post contains spoilers of the movie Tomorrowland and has I high level of Disney nerd-ing and fandom. Readers should be well acquainted with the Disney Parks to fully appreciate this post.
When I saw the first teaser trailer for Tomorrowland I was very excited. I always wanted to write a movie about a future based off of Walt Disney’s original vision for EPCOT. However, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow OR Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow (I’ve heard it both ways) was probably too clunky of a title for a feature length film and thus I can understand why they went with Tomorrowland.
After the first full trailer was released for the movie I was instantly turned off by the idea. I suddenly thought it look very bad and very different from the original movie that had been pitched to me. Thus, I decided to skip it when it was released in theaters. That said, after hearing my parents reaction upon seeing it in theaters, I decided too give it a second chance. That chance came last night when it was finally released on Starz.
Tomorrowland is a movie that is filled with wonder. What I mean is, it does something that all great movies should do; it transforms you into wanting to exist in the world that has been created on screen. I have always been a fan of anything with secret passages and hidden worlds. The idea that behind a doorway could be a portal leading to different world. Call it the kid in me or the fact that I still have a very active imagination, but the movie helps to bring out the dreamer that still lives inside me.
When I was living in New York, one of the first things I did was to visit Corona Park in Queens. That is the site of the 1964 Worlds Faire. When you enter the Queens Museum there is a whole section dedicated to photos and memorabilia from the Worlds Faire. It really does a great job of transporting your mental state to a different period in time.
The whole opening of the movie which takes place there and then transports to Tomorrowland is one of the most exciting parts of the movie to me. I would love to see Disney World update “It’s A Small World” to more closely represent what takes place in the version of the ride in the film.
Next, I was blown away by the actual visuals of Tomorrowland. I genuinely don’t know how they did it. The first time Casey goes there, I genuinely don’t know what is a set and what is CG. Some of it is fairly obvious but some seems like it was actually built, in which case, how big was their budget!? I loved the homage to “Space Mountain” as it is one of the buildings featured in the background of several shots that take place in Tomorrowland.
To me, I felt that Brad Bird did a great job of capturing the spirit of Walt’s vision, not only for Tomorrowland or EPCOT, but his passion for innovation, invention, imagination and adventure. The part in Paris when they’re in the Eiffel Tower and there are the wax figures of Tesla, Jules Vern, and the others; that felt like part of something from “Spaceship Earth” or “The American Adventure”. It feels very steampunk and reminiscent of a Disney ride. Specifically, not that I’ve been on it, “Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon,” at Disneyland Paris.
I will admit that it is not perfect. Tonally, the movie tends to shift from feeling serious, almost a PG-13 type movie, to feeling much more light-hearted and dare I say silly at moments. This does not ruin the movie but it does make it seem a bit unbalanced. I was not as blown away or amazed by this movie as I may have made it seem by all of my praise at the beginning of this post, but I did very much enjoy it. It was actually better than I thought it would be. I think partially because I was expecting to hate it.
In short, Tomorrowland is a very enjoyable film. It was very inspiring and, as corny as this may sound, is exactly the type of movie the world needs right now. An optimistic vision of the future. Something to wake the dreamers up and have them realize that with the right energy and action, anything is possible.
Extra thoughts I couldn’t organically fit in:
– I loved the bit at the end where he has to drop Athena in order to destroy that ball thing. It was very reminiscent of Metropolis (anime) when Tima lets go and falls to her death. That movie makes me cry, without fail, every time I see it.
– I loved that they included the 1939 Worlds Faire “logo” or whatever you’d call it, hidden as one of the buildings in the animated version of Tomorrowland that is shown during the end credits.
– It felt very much like Wall-E in the best way possible, a movie with a message about the human race and planet earth.
– Some of the Chevy product placement felt a little heavy handed. We get it, GM sponsors “Test Track.”
– It also reminded me of “The People Mover.”
– I loved the costume design for Athen at the 1964 Worlds Faire. Her dress with the color and the pattern were a perfect compliment to Nix’s shirt and tie.
– Working for Tesla makes me feel, in a small way, like I am contributing to the future of this planet and thus I feel like my thoughts and work very much align with the message this story tries to portray.