Sunday, May 17, 2015


Brad Bird is just great at what he does. 
I've been a fan of his since the oft overlooked animated classic IRON GIANT.  Most folks know him for Pixar's THE INCREDIBLES and RATATOUILLE.  But after proving his live action film-making chops on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE- GHOST PROTOCOL Disney has entrusted him to build a mythology behind one of the mainstays of every Disney Magic Kingdom Park with TOMORROWLAND.    

Visually his style is very apparent. A lot of impossibly kinetic motion contrasted by stark stillness, with great attention to pacing and pronounced character moments.

He's also great at capturing that old Spielberg esque sense of childish wonder that makes the film refreshing, and is the spoonful of sugar that drives the films heart and message.

All that said, it is a kids movie that targets an adult audience, so there are moments of story that are kinda spoon fed rather than revealed. And moments where they pretty much say straight out, " no were not going to explain this can we just move on with the story?"

That story which in it self is simple but engaging, particularly when framed with bird's knack for action. And the performances from Clooney and his two young counterparts are relatively one note, but really well delivered.(particularly the younger one who carries a mature wisdom about her) Their characters are designed to contrast and bounce off one another, and once the group is assembled, there's some really great chemistry that at times feels like it really shouldn't work, but really does...

Also, the vision for tomorrowland is glistening and serves as a call to action which reminds you of the the irony that is the disjointed showcase of brands that serves as the films namesake in the park. Sadly I still find it unlikely that Disney corporate will heed Brad Bird's call for a return to the hope, optimism, and innovation that inspired the old "World on the Move" Tomorrowland of 1977.  there are plenty of callbacks to the wonderful classic design aesthetic that fans of Bob Gur and the golden era of Imagineering will appreciate, plus some great nods to the industrial, steampunk inspired "Discoveryland" of Disneyland Paris... I loved these details!

The film serves very much like a refreshing glass of kool-aid to tide us over until someone lets Imagineering revise and reestablish the tomorrowland we all crave. And I'll hapily drink it... It's great fun! And all it really needs to be is fun.

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