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Visuals, acting ride high in 'Tomorrowland'
What's in with Justin
A futuristic city adds to the visual appeal of "Tomorrowland." - photo by Studio photo

The recently released film “Tomorrowland” is based on the Disney theme-park ride of the same name, and for about two-thirds of its length, it’s never in short supply of wit and imagination despite a screenplay that is heavy-handed about optimism for tomorrow.

George Clooney stars as Frank Walker, an inventor as a boy who has grown up to become jaded and cynical towards life and the future. Britt Robertson co-stars as  Casey, as a young girl who discovers a pin that automatically transports her to a mysterious city known as “Tomorrowland” that is futuristic on every level.

Frank and Casey are brought together by another girl, Athena (Raffey Cassidy), who presents Casey with another pin that brings them back to the city. Frank went there before as a boy, but later left because of his lack of belief. They also encounter Tomorrowland’s de facto leader (Hugh Laurie) who is able to showcase a series of inventions and predictions that would seem right at home in a comic book or sci-fi TV show.

The movie is crammed wall-to-wall with some wildly inventive sequences thanks mostly to director/co-writer Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”) including one in which Frank, Casey and Athena have to escape the real world to get to Tomorrowland via a secret teleportation machine.

“Tomorrowland” doesn’t say anything new or profound. The idea that humanity has abandoned a sense of wonder is outdated, and the movie doesn’t do itself any favors by having some endless sermonizing about how to regain our innocence and optimism about the future.

At 130 minutes, I was perfectly satisfied with a lot of the film, until the climax retreats to conventionality in terms of spewing all that philosophical mumbo-jumbo with an iron fist.

Nevertheless, I am recommending “Tomorrowland” all the same because there are a lot of visual treats to behold, and the performances are jolly and goofy enough to carry it through. Now, let’s see if Disney can concoct a film based on Space Mountain.

Grade: B+

(Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language.)

Hall is a syndicated columnist in south Georgia.

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