All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: Disney serves up its first non-Marvel, non-animated blockbuster of the summer. Brett Robertson plays a fantasy character (a smart and optimistic teenager) who finds a special pin that transports her to a fantasy future world and leads her to George Clooney’s gruff, cantankerous (and bearded) inventor whom she teams up with to save from evil robots and Hugh Laurie.
Written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, story by Lindelof, Bird and Jeff Jensen. Directed by Brad Bird.
For fans of retro sci-fi, vintage Disneyland and the 1964 World’s Fair, there are some nice shots and cool footage of the original Tomorrowland and related exhibits at the beginning that are fun.
The characters aren’t over-the-top Disney archetypes. Yes, you have the usual optimistic teen, the grouchy old guy, the evil villain, the Dad and little brother (and precocious British girl), but none as cookie-cutter/obnoxious Disney as you’d expect.
Human androids, ray guns, blasters, spaceships, flying suits, super trains, inter-dimension travel (via national landmark), giant robots…what’s not to love?
Acting is good. The teenager is likable and “routable,” Clooney is cool as usual (even a bit dickish at first, which is refreshing), Laurie is restrained, “Little kid” Clooney was likable and even the precious English kid is good with her character.
Casting good too. Fun to see comedian Keegan-Michael Peel (of Comedy Central’s KEY AND PEEL show) and the busty Kathryn Hahn as pop culture store geeks. And the stuff in the store is awesome! (Mike: I’d shop at Blast From The Past, even if it sounds suspiciously close to Back To The Past in Redford, MI, my favorite comic shop. Gotta wonder if any of the filmmakers participated in one of their monthly pop culture funniest auctions.)
Architecture of the future city, sets, effects and all that stuff were very cool. Nice cinematography too. I especially liked the tiered pools that let you swim vertically from one to another. And I want my own jet pack already, dang it!
Enough action, chase scenes, suspense, explosions, ray guns, fights and danger to keep Real Men like me entertained while staying family friendly. (Heads roll, literally! Never expected that from a Disney flick.)
Global-warming warners and tree-hugging haranguers will applaud. And fans of cultural/racial/gender/age diversity should enjoy the ending. PC without being too preachy about it.
Clooney’s house would make James Bond’s Q jealous. I’d see those scenes over again three times just for the “how’d they think of/do that?” factor. I wonder what he could do with a beer fridge?
Ending ends the story yet still leaves enough open for a sequel.
As with any family flick, some of the humor is forced and obvious, and nobody swears. So there are no teenagers resembling reality. As with any fantasy flick, you’ll have to turn off the little science teacher in yer head that will yell, “Hey, you can’t do that!” Present or future, it’s just meant fer fun.
Seems like there was some stuff cut in the last third of the film because both the cause of the Big Threat and the Grand Plan to save everything were a bit confusing and not well explained. Or maybe I had too many beers.
Now that Clooney is over 50, I’m guessing they used a lot less makeup to make him look as old and disheveled as his character. Or maybe they just shot him straight from bed every morning. Haw! (MIKE: Bru’s just envious because George will always be able to get more girls at 60,70 or 80 than Bru will ever have!) HEY, I HEARD THAT!
Even though it’s Disney, some of the robot violence might be too intense for real little ones. Remember the movie WESTWORLD? Like that except they move more like real folks. So when they die, it looks like regular peeps getting’ offed. And flesh folks get zapped into nothingness without a thought, so there are deaths.
The pro-nature, pro-cooperation positive message may offend some of my fellow human-haters. (But we can at least take comfort in the mass destruction and deterioration that took place between scenes!)
Product placement reaches a new level. Those who dislike Disneyland will cringe at some of the more obvious park promotions used as plot devices (little Clooney actually rides It’s A Small World! But because it was introduced at the World’s Fair, they think they can get away with it).
The giant evil robots could have looked cooler and more menacing.
The preciously precocious Brit girl has a creepy look and quickly got on my nerves. (As all kids do.) And the last scene with her and Clooney bordered on creepy fer a whole different reason.
Wanna save five minutes of sitting thru credits? The two-second “button” at the end is a hand picking up the “T” pin before the screen goes black. Whoop-dee-do. (Or should I say, “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah?”)
There’s just enough spectacle and sense of wonder to deserve the big screen treatment. Ol’ Mr. Incredible himself, Brad Bird (THE INCREDIBLES, UP, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: GHOTS PROTOCOL) still knows how to tell a good story with special effects plus likable and interesting characters. (Did not see it in 3D but if it’s done right it probably would look cool.) There aren’t a lot of flicks yer rugrats–both the ones in your house and yer heart–can enjoy together but this is one so it’s worth a treat. And da goils will go fer George as usual!
P.S.: Pascale can draw you some Disney characters, Clooney, chicks, robots, robot chicks and whatever fantasy you have in yer skull that you’d like on paper. Get a commission, feed an artist (and buy me a beer). Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the Disney corporation, George Clooney, Walt Disney’s head, NASA, creepy English girls and angry comic shop owners. Hey Santa! I want a jet pack, a hand -held blaster, portable 1-kiloton bomb, a robot servant…