A world away from the doom-laden prophecies of The Hunger Games and its dystopian teen-movie kin, peppy sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland attempts to persuade us that a dose of 1960s can-do, space-race optimism is just what is needed as an antidote to today’s cynical pessimism and apocalyptic fears; our default response, it seems, to the problems of the planet.
To arrive at this message, though, it’s necessary to sit through some cumbersome plotting as director/co-writer Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) sets up a mystery involving two bright-eyed, bushy-tailed youngsters from different eras: plucky 11-year-old would-be inventor Frank (Thomas Robinson), a visitor to New York’s 1964 World’s Fair, and spirited 18-year-old student Casey (Britt Robertson) in present-day Florida.
Both find themselves in possession of a mysterious badge that briefly whooshes them to a gleaming, futuristic place – the Tomorrowland of the title – where folk whiz about on jet packs and swimming pools levitate in the air.
By the time we’ve begun to get a handle on what is going on, Casey has hooked up with the grown-up Frank – a grizzled, grumpy, thoroughly disillusioned recluse played by George Clooney – for a world-saving race against time in the company of an enigmatic, seemingly ageless little girl (Raffey Cassidy). Bird gives the action plenty of zip and there are some enjoyably inventive set pieces – just wait to see what’s in store for the Eiffel Tower.
Certificate 12A. Runtime 130 mins. Director Brad Bird.