Tomorrowland is the movie of the year…not enough people came to see. Only in Hollywood can a movie that made over $200 million be considered a disappointment, but with budgets what they are it certainly wasn’t the summer hit Disney was hoping it would be. Living in the shadow of Disney’s other blockbuster movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Inside Out, Tomorrowland missed the mark. However, it was a movie worth watching. It was a story of hope in an age of increasing pessimism. It was a story that said it was never too late to achieve the tomorrow we want there to be. And it was a story filled with imagination and whimsy. Where else are you going to see a robot girl, a teenage rebel, and a hermit-like scientist fly into space on a rocket hidden underneath the Eiffel Tower?
I loved Tomorrowland. The ambitions of Brad Bird (director/writer) and Damon Lindelof (producer/writer) were noble ones. They were trying to inspire the visionary inside of us. But they got trapped within the title of their own movie and the heavy weight of trying to explain this magnificent universe they created. Audiences (including myself) expected to see some reference to the actual Tomorrowland, the place millions of people visit every year at Disneyland. But it never shows up. Nor does its creator – Walt Disney. For a movie named after this magical place, it seemed odd not to mention either one and was a distraction from the story that Bird and Lindelof were trying to tell.
The BluRay and DVD do a great job of filling in the holes. Thanks to the folks at Disney, I was able to review a copy and check out what was added in bonus features to flesh out the film. We finally hear about the connection to Walt, Disneyland, Tomorrowland (the real place, not the transdimensional one) and Plus Ultra in one of the deleted scenes. Another deleted scene explains in a very few short sentences why the Tomorrowland of the movie is such a dreary and empty place. The same clip shows us more about what the people who live in Tomorrowland are doing and why they need to open portals to our world. Included as extras on the disc are a couple of great clips that were produced as a finished product but presented as part of the mystery of the story behind the movie – an animated short about the founders of Plus Ultra and clips of a show with David Nix who was supposedly asked by Walt to make an educational show in Tomorrowland (the Disneyland place). We get a deeper insight into Nix’ character and his deep abhorrence for those who are wasting the future of the planet. Hugh Laurie does a great job in these additional scenes and its such a joy to watch him perform.
The behind-the-scenes featurettes showed so much more about the motivation behind the film, the way the film was cast, and an excellent clip of Disney Legend Richard Sherman coming to the recording of his song “A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” for inclusion in the movie. As he often does, Sherman tells a little anecdote about how the song was originally inspired. For Disney fans, that’s probably worth getting the BluRay for by itself. The only other thing that would have been great is commentary by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof about their inspiration for the scenes we see on the screen. Sadly, no commentary was added to the home release, but it is a wonderful addition to your Disney collection. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s worth your time to check it out and now that it’s out on BluRay and DVD, so much easier also. If you’ve seen the movie and liked it, then this release needs a spot in your collection. Enjoy!