“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” This quote (Albert Einstein) is engraved on the wall of the plaza when Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) gets her first, brief glimpse at Tomorrowland – a city that exists in an alternate dimension and is meant to house Earth’s best and brightest in hopes of making a better future. Indeed, it forms the overall tone of the film. Imagination, innovation, invention – all of these are necessary if you want to be able to see the magnificent metropolis where anything and everything seems possible.
Casey is intelligent and idealistic. As her teachers lecture about war and global warming and dystopian fiction, Casey is the only student who seems interested in discussing how they can change things. Her determination catches the eye of Athena, an audio-animatronic from Tomorrowland who has spent the past 25 years searching for the perfect person to help save the future. You see, Casey is special, for the pure and simple reason that she refuses to give up.
Since this is a movie that features sentient robots and an alternate dimension, you’re expected to go into it with your disbelief already suspended. Are there plot holes? Sure. (Like Cape Canaveral having such light security. I mean, what’s up with that?) Does the climax fall a little flat? Probably. (To be honest, I got a little distracted during the big scene, because the woman sitting beside me had the audacity to answer her cell phone.) But for a movie based on an area of a Disney theme park, it’s a pretty engaging experience with absolutely stunning visual effects.
Britt Robertson plays Casey with an endless enthusiasm that neatly balances George Clooney’s (Frank) jaded cynicism. Her unrestrained awe during the original Tomorrowland sequence is palpable, and she never really loses it despite all the drawbacks that occur along the way. I truly believe that her performance is the only thing preventing Tomorrowland from drowning in its own dreariness. There are moments of levity, but this isn’t a film full of laughs. It’s a movie filled with warnings.
At its core, Tomorrowland is about hope. It is also about the dangers that can befall when people lose that hope. It may be a little naïve at times, but so what? Maybe what this world needs is a little more of that innocence, of that firm belief that nothing is inevitable. Maybe Tomorrowland will inspire the next generation to be just that little bit better, just that little bit kinder, just that little bit more that will tip the scales in our favor. I enjoyed its wide-eyed optimism and was moved by its message. I came out of the theater feeling hopeful, which for someone who is perpetually bitter and cynical is no easy feat.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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