Humor me for a few minutes as I time travel a bit.
I'm old enough now to remember the days when Walt Disney was the visionary of our time. I remember the days when the Tomorrowland located in Disneyland Park really conceived a distant world of the future.
Back then, the iconic Carousel of Progress was really a vision into a future that was possible, but still "out there."
The latest offering from Disney Pictures, Tomorrowland, starts us out at the New York World's Fair in 1964. I practically came out of my seat when they began with the Sherman Brother's song, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" that they used to play in the Carousel of Progress.
Perfect, Disney. You've totally got my attention.
I got to see the film in the beautiful Grauman's (now TCL) Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. In IMAX. (Side note: Go see this film in IMAX. It's sooo worth it, but that's not important right now.)
You know the one I mean. It has every Hollywood legend's footprints and autographs captured forever in cement.
I immediately found who I was looking for.
And the inside of the Chinese Theatre was so over-the-top-crazy-beautiful. Before the picture started I was already in Hollywood Movie Heaven.
The film, Tomorrowland was introduced to us by none other than the director, Brad Bird himself. He tried to explain what type of movie we were going to see.
Science fiction? Yes.
Action Adventure? Yes.
Family? Most definitely yes.
Tomorrowland was created by Walt Disney as a section of Disneyland in 1955 – also the year I was born. (Coincidence? I think not.)
It was a time when Americans imagined an optimistic future. Over the years since, the public’s view of the future grew dark.
Director, Brad Bird: “Any time that there is an empty canvas, there are two ways to look at it: One is emptiness and the other one is wide open to possibility. And that’s how I like to look at the future—wide open to possibility. It is a view that has fallen out of favor in terms of looking at the future.”
This shift in thinking also intrigued writer-producer Damon Lindelof, so when he began to synthesize the story for Tomorrowland, he looked for what Tomorrowland meant and how it could be represented in a story line. “I really wanted to recapture that earlier optimism.”
The story of Tomorrowland started with a box labeled “1952,” supposedly discovered by accident in the Disney Studios archive. The mystery box contained all sorts of fascinating models and blueprints, photographs and letters related to the inception of Tomorrowland and the 1964 World’s Fair.
Lindelof was excited by the find and recalls, “I began to imagine that the contents of the box were a guide to a secret story that nobody knew. But if so, what would that story be? And the most obvious answer to me was that there really was a place called Tomorrowland that was not a theme park but existed somewhere in the real world.”
So that's where the concept of the film began. With a mystery box. How delicious is that?
The film itself is beautiful and the acting top notch. As the audience we are taken on a wild ride from the 1964 New York World's Fair and 'It's a Small World' ride to Cape Canaveral to Texas to Paris and on through time and space.
George Clooney is fun to watch as curmudgeonly Frank Walker. His two young female co-stars, Britt Robertson (Casey Newton) and Raffey Cassidy (Athena) hold their own and kick some serious butt along the way. Tim McGraw (Eddie Newton) is a wonderfully believable dad. And Hugh Laurie (Nix) is the guy you love to hate as the overseer of the world of the future.
Great cast and amazing special and technical effects make this a wonderful movie for all family members. Rated PG, it's sure to engage everyone's imagination. Also, it ends with great optimism, making it a very satisfying picture.
"Imagine a place where nothing is impossible."
Disney Pictures happily takes us there.
Tomorrowland opens in theaters everywhere on May 22nd, 2015.