Disney’s Tomorrowland – Review

by ChinaBambi

Tomorrowland

“We’ve been looking for someone like you for a very long time.”

 

Finally Tomorrowland was made into an action packed futuristic movie! I grew up with Disney’s Tomorrowland from a vintage book about the Disney parks.

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The Tomorrowland park area as a kid was mind blowing in the 90’s even though it opened in 1955!.. however when I went a couple of years back it really felt dated and very 80’s! But who doesn’t love Space Mountain!

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I have heard rumours they are due to update the Tomorrowland areas of the parks and vamp them into the Star Wars theme. I hope they still keep the Tomorrowland name and core of what it stood for, it is doubtful but I am hanging onto hope now this film has come out!

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I really enjoyed it, some times it felt like the film was very long as it took a while to get some scenes done, but overall it was action packed, funny, futuristic, emotional with the strong message about Earth and how we treat our world. Things need to change so this is a glimpse into what our future could be.. but do we have a Tomorrowland to rescue us???

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The film is a two-hour-plus film chock full of “dazzling, entertaining fun and excitement,” complete with spectacular visuals, crackerjack action scenes, an antique steampunk rocket ship hidden in the Eiffel Tower, and George Clooney proving he can be effortlessly charming even when playing an (only on the outside!) embittered, curmudgeonly crank.

 Britt Robertson as Casey Newton in "Tomorrowland"

Also if you do not get on board and believe fully in all this relentlessly aggressive dream of a gleaming (fully Disney-branded) future, then you — with your dull, gray cynical, critical thinking — are officially Part of the Problem. You are, in the metaphoric philosophy of the film, feeding the wrong wolf; giving mental energy or emotional sustenance to the Bad Wolf of despair and darkness instead of the Good Wolf of hope and light!

I really loved this Metaphor story 🙂

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Disney’s Tomorrowland Inspired by Calatrava’s Architecture of Today

Image courtesy the Walt Disney Company

Tomorrowland’s futuristic set was based on Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia.

Tomorrowland is all about a mysterious place full of wonder and whiz-bang. But its vision of a far-off advanced civilization is very much grounded in the physical reality of present-day Spain — specifically Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia.

“Calatrava’s architecture is just phenomenal and inventive and exciting,” producer Jeffrey Chernov said. “It’s very skeletal, like you’re looking at the vertebrae of a dinosaur or prehistoric fish. You walk into that place and you never want to leave. That’s the vibe we wanted for Tomorrowland.”

In the film, teenager Casey (Britt Robertson) is transported to Tomorrowland whenever she touches a unique lapel pin. To make sense of where she goes and what she sees, Casey tracks down Frank (George Clooney), a former boy genius who seems to know a lot more about Tomorrowland than he cares to admit.

To create this fantasy world, director Brad Bird could have relied on computer trickery and green screens. But Bird wanted his actors to interact with as much reality as possible. So while there was a fair amount of digital magic used to build the way-out-there structures of Tomorrowland, its foundation rests on Calatrava’s work and its progressive spirit.

“The architect’s imagination represents that great optimistic version of life where you just go, ‘I want to build that’ and somebody builds it,” Clooney said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

The Saarinen-horseshoe-crab design of the City of Arts and Sciences  — not to mention the World’s Fair-esque scale and aesthetic of the project — has a retro feel perfect for a movie based on a Disneyland theme park attraction that opened in 1955.

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On a more fundamental level, though, the Tomorrowland-Calatrava connection is a natural one: the architect’s “optimistic vision of life” is very much in keeping with Walt Disney’s goals for Tomorrowland.

“A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements,” Disney called Tomorrowland in his opening dedication. “Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure, and ideals: The Atomic Age, the challenge of outer space, and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.”

More than 50 years later, Calatrava espoused a similar sentiment in talking about his work with the New York Times.

“My goal is always to create something exceptional that enhances cities and enriches the lives of the people who live and work in them,” he said in 2013.

There’s another point of synergy between the film and architect, though not nearly as positive: they’re both financial boondoggles.

The City of Arts and Sciences ran massively over budget, coming it at more than 1 billion euros, four times the original cost estimate. Disney, meanwhile, spent $180 million making Tomorrowland (not to mention millions more on marketing) only to have the film open with an anemic $41.7 million at the box office.

No one ever said Imagineering came easy or cheap. I hope it has done better since!

 See my previous blog about Tomorrowland with the trailer here 🙂

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