Tomorrowland Parent Review
Showcasing diversity and the possibilities of greater things to come, "Tomorrowland" may just inspire young audiences to explore their own imaginations to find ways to create a better world.
What kid hasn’t dreamed of making his or her own jet pack? Or at least thought about whipping around town in an airborne vehicle that looks like something out of the Jetsons TV show? Well if that is the future you dream of, then Tomorrowland is the place for you.
As a child, Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) had big ideas. Tinkering around in his father’s shop, he created his own personal propulsion machine. Although it wouldn’t actually fly vertically, that was beside the point. He had his eyes firmly focused on the possibilities of the future. Now as an adult, Frank (George Clooney) is far less optimistic about the direction in which mankind is headed. Holed up in a highly secured farmhouse, he watches constant news feeds of natural destruction, man-made disasters and human follies.
Then Casey Newton (Brit Robertson) comes knocking on his door. She, like the rest of us, has been fed a steady diet of gloom and doom from her teachers, academics, politicians and especially the media. However, in the midst of all of it, she has a vision of the future and remains hopeful about the changes than could make the world a better place. However she needs Frank to help her get to a place called Tomorrowland, where the best and brightest are recruited to dream the impossible.
The first 45 minutes of this movie are the most fun, as the characters get a glimpse of a beautiful, sleek time to come. Based on the predictions of the 1964 Tomorrow-Land at The World’s Fair, the future in this movie has the retro look made popular during the 1950s and 60s. (Fortunately fashion isn’t reduced to standard issue where everyone is forced to wear identical jumpsuits like they do in Star Trek.)
After a string of bleak dystopian films such as Divergent, The Hunger Games and The Giver, Tomorrowland is a refreshing take. Yet it is only made possible by Casey’s ingenuity and optimism. Refusing to believe that global warming, natural disasters, riots and societal breakdown are inevitable, she doesn’t succumb to Frank’s fatalistic views.
The film is also free of any sexual content or substance abuse. While there is a generous smattering of profanities in this Disney film, the biggest concerns will be violent depictions. The most startling scene occurs when a speeding vehicle runs over a child. There are also portrayals of vandalism, peril and some brutal hand-to-hand fighting between humans and robots.
This production has an agenda, but thankfully it is not overly heavy-handed. And it acknowledges that the most gifted and creative people can come from all walks of life, ethnicities, age categories and career paths. Showcasing that diversity, along with the possibilities of greater things to come, Tomorrowland may just inspire young audiences to explore their own imaginations to find ways to create a better world.Directed by Brad Bird. Starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Judy Greer, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key. Running time: 130 minutes. Updated May 13, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Tomorrowland here.
Tomorrowland Parents Guide
Talk about the movie with your family…
As a child Casey Newton was fascinated by the stars, as was another star gazer
At the end of the film, the storyline portrays a wide variety of “special” people recruited to help build a better future. What ethnic groups, occupations, genders and ages are depicted? How will it take efforts from everyone to make positive changes? Why do you think Hollywood is becoming more interested in depicting diversity?
In the movie, Casey tells the story of two wolves. The wolf that survives is the one that is fed. How is our society feeding the wolf of despair, greed and arrogance? What role does the media play in promoting negative news? Why are these kinds of stories a quick and easy way to attract viewers? Can we turn things around and focus on feeding the wolf of kindness, generosity and optimism?
The best and brightest are recruited to build Tomorrowland. What role does cooperation and a desire for the common good play in the success of such an endeavor? What part does imagination have in creating a better future? What steps can you take today to improve the world?
One character accuses humans of being galvanized by destruction. He also says we are failing to heed the coalmine canary. What is a coalmine canary? What was its role in protecting the miners? Is society’s obsession with apocalyptic movies, video games, music and media a dangerous thing?