Young Frank drags his jetpack home. Parts of Tomorrowland were filmed in the Enderby-Grindrod-Armstrong area.

Young Frank drags his jetpack home. Parts of Tomorrowland were filmed in the Enderby-Grindrod-Armstrong area.

Reel Reviews: Tomorrowland: The future lies in the North Okanagan

Partly filmed in the Grindrod-Enderby-Armstrong area, Tomorrowland ploughs through a philosophical quagmire.

  • May. 29, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Casey (Britt Robertson) is a brave, creative young woman who spends a great deal of energy trying to make the world a better place, even if it means getting in trouble with the law.

After being bailed out by her father for her latest daring deeds, Casey discovers she has been given a pin that when she touches it, transports her to Tomorrowland, a futuristic utopia.

When that pin ceases working, Casey takes it upon herself to discover where it came from, how it works and why it has been given to her. In this effort she meets Frank (George Clooney), a grumpy inventor who knows all about Tomorrowland, but also the exact date the world is going to end, which is soon.

Together the two of them embark on a multi-dimensional adventure in an attempt to save the future.

We say, “Tomorrowland ploughs through a philosophical quagmire.”

TAYLOR: At its core, Tomorrowland is about how if you change your outlook, you’ll change your outcome. Call it optimistic intentionality, if you like. It’s a well-founded concept, worthy of our attention, although having been given the Disney treatment, it becomes hollow or empty.

Where Jupiter Ascending is The Matrix for girls, Tomorrowland is The Matrix for kids. Suffering from the same multi-dimensional traps, questions of the social engineering of reality become secondary to fight scenes, chase scenes and fantastical scenery. Until finally “The Architect” comes along to explain the way the universe works, in this case played by lead engineer of Tomorrowland, (the place, not the film) Hugh Laurie.

The problem becomes that kids don’t care about the message and adults don’t buy it. So we are left with a very pretty sci-fi action film with a great message, entirely overlooked for what it is, an opportunity for ourselves to imagine a better future.

HOWE: You hit the nail on the head.

Featuring rotund robots resembling a Disney cartoon, the film is too cute for adults. The acting from the kids isn’t that great and I’m including Robertson, who screams constantly. The ending is tied up so sweetly you could pour it on your pancakes.

And then there’s Tomorrowland itself. The whole story is based on this place but we only get to go there for a few minutes. The kids aren’t treated to enough action for them to sit through a two hour-plus film. There are car chases and fighting robots, but these moments are few and far between.

A lot of the movie is dialogue which will go over kids’ heads and most of that is either Clooney being gruff, Robertson fixing or answering everything with ease, or screaming.

I’m very disappointed in it. I get the point of the film and I can appreciate it, but I’m still disappointed.

By the way, did I tell you my daughter Brooke worked alongside Robertson when they filmed here? She spent three days/nights on the set as the double for Casey.

TAYLOR: That’s cool. Lots of locals worked on the film and it’s very obvious which scenes were filmed around here. It’s also fun to see the local scenery on the big screen. For the record though, Tomorrowland is worth watching on its own merits. It’s true younger kids aren’t going to enjoy it as much, but impressionable youths could only benefit from a dose of optimism, even if it is a Disney generated commercial for Star Wars. Adults will have to sit through some sticky schmaltz, but at least the future looks bright in Tomorrowland.

– Taylor gives Tomorrowland 3.5 Bucky domes out of 5.

– Howe gives it 2 grand entrances out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are freelance film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, runs in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.