Saturday, May 23, 2015

"Tomorrowland": plenty of spontaneous time travel, but I don't get a hotel stay with it

When Disneyland opened in the 50s (first in California, and later in Orlando), and had its weekly television series, “Tomorrowland” was my favorite kingdom (although Adventureland, source of nature documentaries like “The Vanishing Prairie” and “The Living Desert” and even "Secrets of Life") was about on peer, followed by Frontierland (Fess Parker), and Fantasyland.
I don’t know if the futuristic city of spires, monorails, roller coasters, and fall-through swimming pools, rising like Oz from  prairies (call it “Metropolis” – KCMO – from “Smallville”) is actually replicated at one of the Disney theme parks (like Epcot in Orlando -- and I do intend to visit Orlando soon). If so, even with Imax, you don’t get to see a lot of the geography of the place. In my own “space station” in my DADT screenplay, I propose a monorail tunnel set up as a Mobius strip, which can get interesting.
The story, by Canadian director Brad Bird, Jeff Jensen and Damon Lindelof, seems rather cluttered, but the backstory concept seems fair enough.  The pre-history starts at the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing (across the #7 IRT tracks from the Mets Citi Field now), which I visited twice.  This was a curious time, early in LBJ’s administration, just as Vietnam was getting started, when the City had been “cleaned up” (by closing down most gay bars, except those controlled by the Mafia).  You see the optimistic, science-fair idea of innovation, and take a ride “It’s a small world.”  The boy Frank Walker is given a mysterious orange and blue pendant that transports him to the future temporarily, to see the teeming city. 
Then in present day, high school student Casey Newton (an aggressive Britt Robertson) finds the same pendant in Houston, sees the future, and goes on a wild chase across the bayou (this section was apparently filmed in Florida) until she encounters the decrepit home and lab of the adult Casey (George Clooney).  Sidekick Athena (Raffey Cassidy) will turn out to be a hologram, as is the family dog.  They also encounter a techie sage (Tim McGraw) who helps unscramble tachyon theory, that somehow enables one to view the future.  The concept of splitting the Eiffel Tower for a rocket launch is rather silly. 
And the future they see is grim, taking us through global warming leading to nuclear terror.  So, somehow we get to change the future, less some alien civilization colonize and replace us (and it’s emerald city might not survive our waste, either).

The official site is here, filmed in Florida, Los Angeles, Spain, France, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Bahamas.  I expected to see Louisiana in the credits for the bayou scene.
I saw the film at the AMC Tysons’s in Imax.  The Saturday afternoon crowd was not as large as I would have expected.  The aspect ratio is listed as 2.20:1, but it seemed a little less wide than that on the Imax screen.  Standard anamorphic is wider, 2.35:1.
Two pictures: a “Tomorrowland”-like city from my own train set, and a Mobius strip. 


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