Respond to these rapid questions in our Tomorrowland quiz and we will tell you which Tomorrowland character you are. Play it now.
In the beginning of Brad Bird’s science fiction adventure “Tomorrowland,” there is a flashback to one of the film’s heroes going to the World’s Fair in 1964 as a child and riding Walt Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride. The ride, with its invasively upbeat music and shimmying puppets, suddenly whisks the park visitor, a boy who came there with a homemade jet pack hoping to win an inventor’s contest, into a
Through this process, a real ride at a theme park is transformed into a high-tech film adaptation of a ride at a theme park. The first ride is easygoing, reminiscent, and endearingly quaint. The second is dazzling and intense; it is a masterpiece of choreography, editing, design, sound effects, and music, along with a bit of dream logic that will give you chills: at one point, the boy falls while his jet pack plummets a few meters to his left, and in order to reach it, he kicks his arms and legs like a swimmer chasing a life preserver. The dream logic is a bit unsettling. “Tomorrowland” is full of surreal and illogical dream sequences like the one you described. They are what make the movie worth watching, despite the fact that it succeeds more as an experience than as a story or a message despite its desire to be all three at the same time.
Casey, played by Britt Robertson and seeking out Frank Walker, played by George Clooney, who knows how to access the aforementioned future, where brilliant scientists and other special individuals have created a pristine new world in advance of this one’s death, is the sort of thing that passes for a plot in this film. Young Frank Walker, played by Thomas Robinson, is befriended by Athena, a freckle-faced young English girl played by Raffey Cassidy. Athena has a secret that I won’t reveal here, except to say that it assists the others in wriggling free of seemingly insurmountable jams. The World’s Fair sequence is depicted in the movie.
But you shouldn’t waste any more time and start this Tomorrowland quiz.
The co-writers of “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Bird and Damon Lindelof, offer some vague or stilted warnings about the plight of extraordinary individuals in an ordinary world, as well as the price we’ll eventually pay for despoiling the environment and demonizing science. These warnings come courtesy of the “Star Trek Into Darkness” movie. It has been asserted that Bird’s films, “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille,” contain statements that are overly simplistic and, at times, have an elitist tone regarding the privileges that ought to be granted to talented people. The world’s greatest scientific minds decided they’d had enough of ignorance and apathy and made their own world that’s part Shangri-La and part Emerald City of Oz, but is functionally Noah’s Ark. He’ll get raked over the coals again here thanks to the future’s “Atlas Shrugged”-style origin story: the world’s great scientific minds decided they’d had enough of ignorance and apathy and made their own world.
A raggedy quality permeates the plot, which frequently relies on Michael Giacchino’s “Behold the magic!” score and a team of “Matrix”-like assassins that can pass for human beings in order to ratchet up the tension. At its worst, it poses fundamental creative questions that are light years removed from the concerns that it has with philosophy and morality: Is the heroine special because she actually possesses special qualities, or because the “You are the chosen one” thing enables Bird to get through two hours of the story without having to give Casey any characteristics other than her spunkiness? Is it a problem, both in terms of the story and the message being conveyed, that Frank’s chief antagonist, Hugh Laurie, makes more sense than the heroes who try to stop him? Perhaps Bird and the rest of the group would have been better off if they had followed the recommendation that Frank gave to Casey: “Should I go over everything with you again? You can’t just admit that you’re impressed and move on, can you?”
Also, you will find out which character are you in this Tomorrowland quiz.
But if you think of “Tomorrowland” primarily as an enormous cinematic theme park that reveals a new “ride” every few minutes — in the same way that Bird’s most recent feature film, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” was primarily a collection of action sequences — the film’s less compelling aspects won’t be deal-breakers for you. If in no other way, in this regard, Bird’s latest owes more to “Metropolis,” “Blade Runner,” “Dark City,” the first “Tron,” and other works of top-shelf eye-candy than it does to the majority of the science fiction and fantasy-tinged franchise entries that modern studios crank out.
About the quiz
The entire movie is conceived of by Bird as a series of clockwork suspense sequences that involve things like laserguns, plasma bombs, hidden doors and gates and passageways and tunnels, vertigo-inducing climbs and falls, serpentine hover-trains, machines and structures that fold and unfold and split, and people who might not be human. The panoramas of the present day disappear and are replaced by scenes reminiscent of those seen in “The Jetsons.” The time travel device, which has the appearance of a souvenir button, is responsible for this transformation. There are jet packs, monorails, robots that clomp and clank, and zero-gravity swimming pools that are simply puck-shaped masses of water hanging in midair. All of these things are currently in development. A scene near the end is so unabashedly sentimental, yet so emotionally complex and confounding, that I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it. There are moments in which people exist simultaneously in two different time periods while walking, running, falling, or driving.
Also, you must try to play this Tomorrowland quiz.
The movie is a very personal piece of art that seems to have been born out of obstinate passion. Despite the fact that certain sequences seem to be designed in such a way as to evoke actual assembly lines, this is in no way a product that was manufactured on an assembly line. It’s clear that Bird knows why he’s showing us these things and what he hoped to achieve by visualizing them in this manner, but he and his co-writers (including co-scenarist Jeff Jensen) can’t seem to find a graceful way to communicate it, which may be why it can be a bit irritating or dull at times.
No matter. The “message” of “Metropolis,” which was a parable of labor and capital that came to the conclusion that society requires the heart to mediate between the head and the hands, was a jumbled up mess as well. To our modern eyes, it appears both reductionist and expansive; in other words, Marxism-lite. But “message” wouldn’t be on the list if you had to make a list of the reasons why that film is still remembered, discussed, and raided for inspiration by films like Bird’s. Watching “Metropolis” is, for many of us, the closest we will ever come to experiencing someone else’s dream. This is one reason why the movie is so memorable.