Now THIS is the future I remember! Growing up on movies like Star Wars and television shows like Star Trek my vision of the future was always filled with hope. I was born the year we made it to the moon and the possibilities for humanity seemed endless. Today we live in an era where the space shuttle fleet was sold to museums and our media abounds with images of a dystopian future where hope is in short supply. The movie, Tomorrowland, takes us back to the optimism of an earlier age. Director Brad Bird said, “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.” It’s the kind of future he has created for this movie.
Together with writer and producer Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness) they crafted a screenplay that is high-powered and heavy on the action, but also filled with hope for a brighter tomorrow. We follow the life of optimistic teenager Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) who’s former NASA engineer father (Tim McGraw) is overseeing the dismantling of one of the space program’s last launchpads. Casey’s natural engineering brilliance and her drive to achieve the impossible has managed to slow things down for her soon-to-be-out-of-work father…and has caught the attention of Athena (Raffey Cassidy). Athena slips a small pin with an iconic “T” into Casey’s belongings, which sets off a roller coaster ride of adventure through the rest of the film. Casey ends up meeting Frank Walker (George Clooney), a disillusioned former child prodigy who has actually been to Tomorrowland before. Reluctantly, the three join forces to find a way to save the future! How will they save the future and why do they need to? You’ll have to see the movie to find out!
Bird and Lindelof wanted to create a movie that brought back hope to the big screen. They wanted to make something that inspired people to think about the future in a new way, a way filled with possibilities instead of doom and gloom. As Bird commented, “When I was a kid, even though there were many negative things going on, as there always is and will be, it was acceptable to view the future in a positive light, that life was going to be better, that racism would cease, inequality would be mitigated, and so on. Now there’s this sort of giant cosmic shrug, and I hate that. I just don’t think that we’re on the planet to do that. We have the power to be responsible and go in the other direction.” I’m glad to say that Tomorrowland inspires us to that brighter future. If you ever wanted your own jet pack, if you ever dreamed of living in a better world, this is the movie for you.
- Visit the Disney Nerds blog for insights from the Tomorrowland press conference
- Read about my interview with Raffey Cassidy who portrays Athena
- Want more Tomorrowland? Read the prequel novel – Before Tomorrowland
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