To­mor­row­land: A World Be­yond

Brad Bird’s lat­est flight of fancy

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Cinema -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

12A | 130 min­utes Direc­tor: Brad Bird Cast: Ge­orge Clooney, Thomas Robin­son, Britt Robert­son, Hugh Lau­rie, Raf­fey Cas­sidy, Kathryn Hahn

So is it all about

Dis­ney­land? Does it have any­thing to do with that weird box of clues on Twit­ter? Do we find out why Ge­orge Clooney has an ex­plod­ing bath­tub? Err... Yes and no. The fact that you leave To­mor­row­land with more ques­tions than an­swers is sort of the whole point. Brad Bird might have al­ready ditched live ac­tion to re­join Pixar, but there’s more ideas buzzing around his lat­est sci- fi opus than his old an­i­ma­tion alumni have mus­tered in a decade.

We pick up the first story strand at the 1964 World’s Fair. Bud­ding in­ven­tor Frank Walker ( Thomas Robin­son) meets a creepy girl ( Raf­fey Cas­sidy) and fol­lows her into a se­cret pas­sage that fer­ries him to a fu­ture me­trop­o­lis – half Jules Verne, half Ap­ple Store. Skip to story strand num­ber two and trou­bled teenager Casey ( Britt Robert­son) meets the same creepy girl, this time hop­ping back to the fu­ture via a magic badge.

By the time strand one meets strand two, we’re al­ready tod­dler deep in jet packs, al­ter­nate time di­men­sions and au­dio- an­i­ma­tronic ter­mi­na­tor kids – not to men­tion story strands. Re­quir­ing a slightly higher knowl­edge of Tachy­onic Field Tech­nol­ogy than most av­er­age eight- year- olds pos­sess, the last act feels more like In­ter­stel­lar than Es­cape To Witch Moun­tain. Then again, as a grumpy Walker says to Casey around the mid- point, “Why do you have to keep ask­ing so many ques­tions? Can’t you just... be amazed?”

In­deed, if you’re will­ing to let a few things slide, To­mor­row­land is one of the best fam­ily block­busters in years. Bird’s CG world is burst­ing with vis­ual in­ven­tion – a wholly orig­i­nal sci- fi that’s both savvy and un­cyn­i­cal, of­fer­ing a wel­come al­ter­na­tive to the usual dystopias that plague mul­ti­plexes. Clooney makes a great griz­zled tour guide, and Hugh Lau­rie pops up as ( spoiler alert!) an evil English­man, but it’s Robert­son who re­ally holds things to­gether with smarts and spunk way be­yond the plot knots.

Is it a kids’ film dressed up as adult sci- fi? Is it the other way around? Is it all re­ally about Dis­ney­land? Just shut up and be amazed. Paul Bradshaw The film has this longer ti­tle in Europe be­cause there’s a Bel­gian mu­sic fes­ti­val called To­mor­row­land.

Did the movie cost even more than his wed­ding?

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