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Tomorrowland (Blu-ray Review)

TomorrowlandDreamers Wanted…Disney invites you to an incredible world of epic imagination where anything is possible.  Buckle your seat belt, as the director of The Incredibles takes your family on an action-packed thrill ride. Tomorrowland transports you on an inspiring and magical journey of wonder and adventure to a place where if you can dream it, you can do it. Own it on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) October 13!  The film stars George Clooney as Frank Walker (“Gravity,” “Up in the Air”), Britt Robertsonas Casey Newton (“The First Time,” “The Longest Ride”), Raffey Cassidy as Athena (“Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Dark Shadows”), Hugh Laurie as Nix (“Monsters vs. Aliens,” TV’s “House M.D.”), Tim McGrawas Eddie Newton (“The Blind Side”).

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Film 

Join former boy genius Frank, optimistic, science-minded teen Casey, mysterious Athena and the brilliant David Nix in a world of pure Disney imagination.  Tomorrowland transports you on an inspiring and magical journey of wonder and adventure to a place where if you can dream it, you can do it.

For my outlook on Summer 2015, Tomorrowland was on my list of “must sees”.  I really enjoy director Brad Bird and thought what I had seen from the movie looked interesting.  My reservation was Damon Lindeloff.  When it came out it was met with a lukewarm critic reception on the mixed-negative line of response.  And with all the unenthusiastic fanfare, I ended up going to see a 35mm revival screening of The Muppet Movie with my son instead of going to Tomorrowland.  Having seen the film now, I can confirm that I made the right choice that weekend this past May.

Tomorrowland isn’t awful (Its not even close), but its not delivering on what its seemingly trying to offer and what it does serve up is just some boring also-ran garbage that quietly limps to the finish line.  Now, I know its not fair to “want” a movie to be something and then when its not that, to turn on it as if its the movie’s fault.  But, I really expected to see a lot more of a fully functioning, living, breathing Tomorrowland and to learn about said functionality and the lifestyle there.  Postapocalyptic, run down Tomorrowland is boring, dull and just not any sort of fun a lot of this film tries to show you it being.

Now, there was stuff I enjoyed.  And I really did like the first hour of the film.  It featured some intrigue, creativity and solid action sequences.  Our main character is pretty fun, and the film seemingly takes on that vibe.  There’s a fun collectible shop shootout as well as the one in Clooney’s home (Much better in its flushed out form than the scene that ran with Avengers: Age of Ultron) and some good mystery with the pin to hold ones attention and fool them in to expecting more.  Robot characters earlier on also are cooky and enjoyable, hinting to a different flavor of film than what we get.  I’d like to put a lot of the blame on this movie not succeeding in Lindeloff, but its got to go on Bird too as these two really collaborated on it.  So yeah, no Bird has a stinker in his arsenal.  There’s always next time.

Ultimately Tomorrowland is an easy one to just pass by and keep moving along.  It doesn’t feature Space Mountain thrills or Star Tours fun.  Maybe its more for kids, you ask?  Well, then it shouldn’t have the bloated run time of two hours and ten minutes.  That’s a little much to ask of a kid.  I watched it with both of mine and my 3 year old said he liked it, but I noticed it didn’t keep his full attention as he would do other things while watching it.  My one year old seemed captivated by it, so there’s that.  I didn’t hate Tomorrowland or watching it, but I’m not recommending it to anyone and it certainly underwhelmed me.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1

Clarity/Detail:  Tomorrowland boasts a very impressive image.  This image is crystal clean, sharp and very well detailed.  Clothing, surfaces and grounds all look wonderful.  The wheat field in the film is incredibly gorgeous looking as every strand is documented quite well and the picture looks so smooth and clean on it.

Depth: The film has a nice 3 dimensional look.  Jet pack scenes and those featuring a heavy dose of CG bring plenty of free floating images.  Movements are smooth and cinematic.

Black Levels:  Blacks are nice and inky.  Shading is a nice strong suit as no details are lost.  Clothing, surfaces and hair colors that are black in nature all still show strong pattern and texture.  No crushing.

Color Reproduction:  This is a really pretty palette on display here.  Yellows and golds shine through quite well.  Other colors are strong and vivid, while harnessing their restraint and going far but never bleeding out.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones hang on to the natural side, although certain environments envoke a different look.  Facial detail like make-up lines, lip texture, stubble and wrinkles all shine through like looking through a window.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean, polished, perfect.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese,

Dynamics:  This is a pretty marvelous 7.1 track.  No matter if the movie isn’t that good, the sound keeps you plenty attentive.  Effects are gloriously constructed and well rounded.  Environments are well rounded.  There is a good layered balance of effects, vocals and the film’s score that make this as free and loose a track as can be.

Low Frequency Extension:  Rockets bursting, blasters, explosions, car crashing and engines humming all keep the subwoofer busy during the film.  Its set to a nice booming level that never overdoes it.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This is a fully realized multichannel mix that features action flowing to the side speakers and swooping in from the rear.  Every environment has its grounds covered and sounds well-rounded.   The front speakers flow back and forth and have accurate volume placement with an expert precision.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp, clear and set to the perfect volume in the mix.  Every little breath is captured.

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Extras 

Tomorrowland comes with a DVD Copy and UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Remembering The Future: A Personal Journey Through Tomorrowland With Brad Bird (HD, 7:09) – Brad Bird talks about his love of the section of Disney being Tomorrowland and how he liked how Walt Disney was always looking toward the future with space exploration.

Casting Tomorrowland (HD, 7:27) – Interviews with cast, Brad Bird and Lindeloff as they discuss the individual characters and performers.

A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session (HD, 6:03) – A sort of video journal with the composer of the film.

The World Of Tomorrow Science Hour: Hosted By Futurologist David Nix (HD, 5:08) –  Outtakes from a fake pilot show Disney had made featuring Hugh Laurie’s character from the film.

Animated Short: The Origins Of Plus Ultra (HD, 3:36) – A fake vintage cartoon that ties into the film.  You also have the option to watch this before the feature.

Brad Bird Production Diaries (HD, 4:34) – “The First Day” & “NASA”

Blast From The Past Commercial (HD, :41) – A commercial for the collectible store that was a focus of a scene in the movie.

Deleted Scenes With Filmmaker Introductions (HD, 23:28) 

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Summary 

Tomorrowland certainly qualifies as a disappointment.  Its not all bad, and the first half of the film is both intriguing and entertaining.  Like many things Damon Lindeloff touches, once it get to showing us what the film actually is, it starts to flounder and ultimately is pretty uninteresting and never delivers what is seemingly promises and what we actually want.  This Blu-ray DOES deliver incredibly in with outstanding picture and audio.  The extras are of the safer/bogus variety but are decent.  This ultimately is a very good release for those who were fans of the film and are wanting to own it.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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