Movie Review: Tomorrowland (2015) *Brad Bird Lays An Egg*

I’m sorry, that’s too easy a shot, but I’m not going to pull punches: this is a hot pot of mess.  The warning signs were there.  Production delays; release date kicked back six months; so-so trailers and no clear indication what the movie was really about, but it was Brad Bird!  Iron Giant!  Incredibles!  Mission Impossible 4!  He was going to pull it out!  I’m sorry.  I really wanted to like this and I still love Brad Bird, but this is a disaster and he co-wrote and directed it so there’s nowhere else to lay blame.  This is Brad Bird’s first bad film.

The whole mystery leading up to this movie has been in part “what is Tomorrowland?”  I’ve seen the film, and I could spend 500 words trying to sum up the plot, but the truth is the movie never really decides, explains or earns the places it wants to take you.  From the very beginning, the film is gripped in a framing device that was a huge misstep, then jumps tonally all over the map.  For awhile I could sense an early Spielbergian tone, but as the film goes on, it gets more and more and more convoluted, more and more frenetic and the entire movie is so….freaking….preachy.  I’m the choir with what they’re saying, but I resent anything that tries to clumsily emotionally manipulate people.


I want to grab on to something about this that was good, a scene, a performance, but the whole thing is just a mess that’s so confounding I can’t even coherently explain it without sounding more and more cynical and jaded.  Bad writing, bad acting (worst acting from Clooney since the Batman & Robin era), confounding pacing, and in the end it all ends up being a lot of noise.  It also has a creepy love story for Clooney and some seriously violent stuff for what is being marketed as a Disney family film.


I don’t like ripping films apart.  When we’re talking about Brad Bird and George Clooney we’re talking about people I genuinely like and admire as people and as artists.  I really don’t think it serves any purpose detailing any further how completely this film fails.  I’m giving it a bad score, but-to be honest-if I wasn’t so in the tank for the people in the first place, I’d probably knock another point to two points off of it.  This is a genuine bomb, but I have no doubt Bird will be back on form with Incredibles 2, and I’d rather look forward to that than think any more on this fiasco.

8 thoughts on “Movie Review: Tomorrowland (2015) *Brad Bird Lays An Egg*”

  1. Do we know Incredibles 2 is a lock at this point? Because it’s my understanding that Tommorowland cost well over 200 million to make and market. It’s not quite as big a disaster as Lone Ranger, but it’s up there. And Verbinski might never have his credibility restored, and this is the guy who made Disney all that Pirates money. Maybe they realize that Bird is more talented than Verbinski (I’m not knocking the V man, he’s still really talented) but I’m just a little worried that Disney will call off Incredibles 2, or assign someone else to the film.


    1. No it’s a lock. He’s writing the script now and they’re aware there’s no movie without him. There are a lot of people who contributed to Tomorrowland failing and Disney meddling was a cause of the delays. If this were his first live action film I’d say he was damned so to speak with animation like Andrew Stanton will always be. Long term I think he’s going to be fine and Disney is going to make more than enough to absorb this setback.


      1. But when this is a certified bomb, will they take away the obvious lesson (the movie is terrible) or the lesson that doesn’t make them look so bad for greenlighting it (the movie was based on an original concept)?

        After reading your review I am truly disappointed. I was looking forward to this. A lot. I’ll still go see it, but it sounds dire. 200 million is chump change when you’ve got Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and an entire catalogue of animated classics to remake in live action, but I want to see original ideas, and every fiasco like this one helps kill the dream.


      2. I think in this case Disney sucks it up and marches on. They have Inside Out coming soon and I could see hints of what Bird wanted watching this but it’s so mired in convolution. The more I think about it I think the device they use to frame the entire film was added last minute to try to make it all more coherent but it takes you out of the experience right from the start. I was really looking forward to this too.


  2. No!!!! Okay – I didn’t read this as I haven’t seen it yet but I looked at your rating & read the beginning. 😦 I’ve been looking forward to this for ages!


    1. Sigh. I know. Maybe everyone will see it differently but I actually think the 4 was fair if not generous. My theater didn’t seem to know what to make of it. There wasn’t any laughing happening. If you told me at the beginning of the year that I would like Furious 7 and Mad Max 4 twice as much as Tomorrowland I would never have believed it.


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