Tomorrowland

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Even though this movie got mediocre reviews, I wanted to see it on the big screen for one reason: it was directed, produced, and co-written by Brad Bird. Its box-office performance is also mediocre, which told me I better get a move on before it disappeared from area theatres.

The plot is difficult to summarize without major spoilers. But the premise is the existence of a literal utopia, nearby us in an alternate dimension, accessible only via convoluted technological mumbo-jumbo. It was conceived by dreamers and innovators decades ago, free from the shackles of big government and big business. A select few are "recruited" to this semi-magical land from our world in order to create further wonderfulness.

But that was then. Most of the movie is set in our near future, and things aren't going right, neither in this world, nor in Tomorrowland.

What's good: although the (literal) fate of the world hangs on the shoulders of Frank (George Clooney) and his spunky young sidekick Casey (Britt Robertson) the movie doesn't take itself that seriously; chuckles throughout. And—sorry for the cliché—it's an imaginative visual feast all the way through.

What detracts from all this wonderfulness: the whole utopian notion of a magical land free from constraints and trade-offs: why, we'd be there now if not for … well, something or other. Greed. The Man. You know.

And even if you are stoned enough to buy the techno-hippie premise, the underlying plot conflict doesn't make a lot of sense, either: there's a bad guy, willing to send out murderous robot hordes to thwart Frank and Casey, but his motives are unclear, and his methods are inexplicable. (Why, it's as if he wants to lose.)

But I had a good time. Take the kiddos, don't think too hard.