***/**** Image A+ (ultra) Sound A+ Extras C+
starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy
screenplay by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird
directed by Brad Bird
by Walter Chaw Brad Bird's Tomorrowland is a mess and it knows it. It's unruly, barely contained, just this side of completely falling apart. There are many and distracting continuity errors, and though it makes a joke of it, it's clear immediately that the movie doesn't know how to start, much less end. It has an engaging, irrepressible heroine it strands at the moment she should be doing something ("Am I supposed to be...doing something?" she actually asks), and it has a visit to a memorabilia/collectibles store run by unusual proprietors that is packed to the girders with Brad Bird ephemera of the Iron Giant and Incredibles variety. Tomorrowland has hanging about it, in other words, all the elements of disaster: winky meta references, lack of narrative cohesion, desperation-born mistakes, bad screenwriter/Nick-Riviera-bad script doctor Damon Lindelof as Bird's co-author...and yet it's good somehow. Credit Bird, who knows his way around spatial relationships, and credit a simple, plaintive idea that the world can be better if we believe that it can be better. If the sign of a great filmmaker is his ability to make a bad actor seem good, Bird is a frickin' genius for making something Lindelof worked on not an utter catastrophe. It's big and simple and corny in a Lone Ranger, Captain America, Silver Age Superman kind of way--the kind of big and simple and corny I can get behind.