“Disney’s Tomorrowland, Directed by Brad Bird, Inspires Us to Make a Better World for Ourselves”Disney’s TOMORROWLAND. L to R: Frank (George Clooney); Casey (Britt Robertson). Photo: Kimberley French/Disney 2015
Tomorrowland is a mystery adventure thrill ride! Based on a story by Damon Lindelof (Star Trek Into Darkness), Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille), and Entertainment Weekly‘s Jeff Jensen, with a screenplay by Lindelof and Bird, “Tomorrowland” and is sure to be fun for the entire family. It is rated PG and runs 130 minutes.Bird (who is directing his second live-action film) directs a star-studded cast that features George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, and Thomas Robinson.
Although Tomorrowland was inspired by a section of Magic Kingdom of the same name, it’s a ride from Fantasyland (It’s a Small World) that takes the young boy genius, Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson), into Tomorrowland during the 1964 World’s Fair.
Flash forward into the future and the former boy genius, now played by Clooney, is disillusioned by everything going on in the world. He has turned into a recluse, but is on the ready with security in his house. The filmmakers had Clooney in mind when they wrote the lines for his character. They made him into a hero, but also made him come off as a curmudgeon (in a humorous way).
Combine Walker with the optimistic Casey Newton (Robertson) and the film soon has us on a mission to save the world. Newton, whose dad, Ed (Tim McGraw), is a NASA engineer, has always been interested in space. She wants to see the world be a place for hope and inspiration again.
Newton was recruited by Athena (Cassidy) because of her curiosity in science, and Athena believes in Tomorrowland’s mission. What is this mission you ask? It is to recruit dreamers into the futuristic world. New people and new ideas are what the world needs and Athena sees that in Casey.
After Casey goes to jail for stopping a NASA demolition, Athena places a Tomorrowland pin with her belongings. Casey touches it and soon is thrust into the futuristic world of Tomorrowland. She yearns to go back to the world that she saw. The problem? The pin doesn’t have enough power to take her back. This is where Athena comes to her aid and takes her to Frank. The problem? Frank wants nothing to do with Casey. They soon escape, where they are greeted by Athena and transport to the Eiffel Tower in Paris thanks to Frank’s invention. The Tower is not just a monument, but the launching site of a rocket that will bring you into Tomorrowland. How about that for imagination?
Gustave Eiffel met with Thomas Edison, Jules Verne, and Nikola Tesla on a fall evening in 1889 in Eiffel’s apartment. The four of them formed ‘Plus Ultra’, a secret organization, to help shape the next century. Walt Disney (the person) joined in the 1960’s, which explains how the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride just happens to take select people into Tomorrowland.
Once in Tomorrowland, Governor David Nix (Laurie) is not happy to see the long-exiled Frank back in his presence. Nix is a cold-hearted bureaucrat. Nix isn’t quite the typical Disney villain in as much as he is the anti-Frank. I look at him as an anti-hero if anything. He has his own way of doing things while remaining interested in the science.
Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn were cast as Gernsbacks. They are robots and their sole mission is to retrieve the pins and find out how they work.
When Tomorrowland opened in Disneyland back in 1955, people were optimistic about the world’s future. Over time, this optimism has been replaced with pessimism. This is the idea that Bird and Lindelof have wisely chosen to explore. Bird notes that there are two ways of looking at an empty canvas: “One is emptiness and the other one is wide open to possibility. And that’s how I like to look at the future—wide open to possibility. It is a view that has fallen out of favor in terms of looking at the future.”
Writing the screenplay with Bird, Lindelof “really wanted to recapture that earlier optimism.”
Tomorrowland is a thrill ride, that takes us on an adventure of imagination, an adventure where dreams come from. It’s a film that inspires us to become better, not just for ourselves, but for everyone. This is something that Walt Disney himself would be proud of.
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