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May 22nd, 2015

Movie Review - Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland



Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Robinson, Pierce Gagnon, Chris Bauer, and more.


Directed by: Brad Bird Screenplay by: Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird Story by: Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird, and Jeff Jensen Cinematography by: Claudio Miranda Music by: Michael Giacchino


Premise: Casey's dream is to go to space, so she's been sabotaging the equipment being used to dismantle NASA's launch platform trying what she can to keep it alive. When she's caught and then released, she ends up with a strange pin she's never seen before. And when she touches the pin, it lets her see a marvelous city full of technical miracles. But when she uses up all the power on the pin and heads off to find information about it at a SF collectibles store, she finds there are people out there willing to kill her just for having it. (Rated PG)


Review:


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Tomorrowland has a great cast - especially the kids. Thomas Robinson and Raffey Cassidy were totally adorable in the 1954 sequence. Thomas rattled the technical terms and explanations like a total pro - and his instant attraction to Athena was like a neon sign. Britt Robertson did a great job as the spunky Casey. Her reactions to the insanity were great. George Clooney as Frank Walker was an excellent choice, just the right amount of disillusioned bitterness and sparkling hope. Sparring verbal matches between Clooney and Britt were a lot of fun.


2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects are totally worth seeing in IMAX. From the giant wheat field to the lovely lines of the city in Tomorrowland, there's so much to enjoy visually. A lot of attention is paid to detail, even going so far as to adjust the tech and look-and-feel of it during the different periods we see Tomorrowland or technology on Earth derived from it.


From the pin to the different permutations of the jetpack, the special effects group wove in subliminal homage to a ton of SF from the past - Jules Verne/Steampunk, 2001 Space Odyssey, Flash Gordon, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Day the Earth Stood Still and more. (And that's on top of the ton of SF related material flashed around at the collectibles shop!)


The sequences where Casey touches the pin are fab. She's lucky not to have broken something! lol. The switching back and forth was seamless, making it that much easier to believe it was really happening.


Tomorrowland itself was fabulous! We get a little bit of a quick tour, but it will need a couple of viewings or more to see everything, there's so much going on. Heh heh. Also the effects used for physically travelling to Tomorrowland and those for the tachyon time distorted future images came out really well, giving both a nice unique touch.


Extra kudos for changing the Disney castle intro to match Tomorrowland. Super nice touch!


3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The film covered all sorts of themes - family, dreams, not giving up, love that transcends, making a difference, good and evil. Many of these are interwoven together and played off each other as well. There's also a lot of minutia in the visuals to fill in information even before some of the themes are explored.


A few bits at first seem not to make sense or appear to be errors, but this is only because the pace is so fast the audience is expected to realize the reasons for themselves. For example: automatons killing people and trying to kill the main characters on Earth, yet these same characters not being immediately shot in Tomorrowland - at first it seems an odd incongruity until you realize that on Earth their actions are not being seen while in Tomorrowland, the same actions would be noticed and commented on by those with power to make a stand. With the consistently fast pace of the film, you have to put things together on the go!


All the scenes where there are one-to-one interactions really were well setup and executed. The whole section of Casey trying to get into the house and what she does to get in and what happens with Walker after she does are priceless.


4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Most of the gags were usually a mix of CGI and live action. For the most part you couldn't tell which was what and worked together to great effect. The chase and battle scenes at Walker's house were fab!


5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The cinematography was awesome! The view of endless water in the secret room under the World's Fair, the golden wheat fields in Tomorrowland, all the shots of Tomorrowland itself, and what they do with Paris - everything seemed bigger than life, the amazement factor ratcheted up high. The time lapse sequence of the NASA launch pad and the other visuals from using the time map were very cool.


6) Music - Total Thumbs Up: Michael Giacchino did a great job on the score. It had a very strong John Williams vibe to it. It was almost as if the music, and not just the visuals, were paying homage to all the SF that has spanned and entertained us for the last 60+ years. Nice!


Conclusion: Tomorrowland is a fun, fast paced adventure. Great visuals and lots of witty repartee. There also a three second or so extra bit at the very end of the credits that was the perfect conclusion for the film. :)


Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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