Directed By: Brad Bird

Starring: George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, and Keegan-Michael Key

Summer 2015 has brought with it a strong run at the box office so far.  Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2, and Mad Max: Fury Road have all made loads of cash at the box office.  As we kick off Memorial Day weekend, I believe we've found our first duds of the summer movie season.  Interestingly enough, one of them comes from Disney, one of the two studios that has been rocking at the box office with one hit after another this year.  The dud in reference is this weekend's Tomorrowland, a half-baked sci-fi adventure that harkens back to the Disney of old while simultaneously wagging its finger at mankind for the myriad of problems it has brought upon itself and this home we call Earth.

War rages all across the globe.  Extreme weather occurrences become increasingly frequent.  Droughts and starvation abound.  Somehow, ignorant, willful political stagnation in the face of all these challenges endures.  That's the sad state of affairs in the world today.  Hearing about all the problems mankind must confront throughout her classes, dreamer Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) dares to ask a simple question that few seem to ponder.  What are we going to do about these problems?  What are we doing to change the world for the better?  Animatronic robot Athena (Raffey Cassidy) is looking for recruits and takes notice of Athena's tendency to proverbially feed the right wolf.  When Casey is arrested one night after trying to save her father Eddie's (Tim McGraw) job as an engineer at NASA, Athena slips a magical pin into her belongings.  From here, Casey's adventure begins.

Out of prison and drawing the ire of her father for her bold, destructive actions at the NASA facility, Casey gets acquainted with the pin Athena provided.  It takes her to a magical land, where people fly around on jet packs, explore the universe on rocket ships, and generally tap into their creativity to make their world a better place.  This breathtaking place is known as Tomorrowland.  The only catch is that her time in this magical land doesn't last.  When the battery on the pin runs out, Casey can no longer explore this world.  Seeking to get another taste, she sets out on her own.  This puts her straight on a crash course with aging inventor Frank Walker (George Clooney), who is forecasting the end of the world to begin in the next couple of months.  For his part, Walker has plenty of history with Athena and Tomorrowland.

After the likes of Cinderella and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland seems like a misstep for the Disney brand.  There's absolutely no need for a movie like this given the other films the studio has slated for the remainder of the year.  As much as it pains me to say this, it may be this year's John Carter for Disney financially, and the movie isn't even that good.  With an aimless narrative, a cast that doesn't quite gel on screen, and a message of hope that just doesn't resonate, Tomorrowland is indeed a misstep for the venerated studio.  Despite some grand, immensely creative visuals that could rival any other big budget production this year, this latest outing from Disney just doesn't get the job done.

This sci-fi adventure has a lot of big ideas.  Unfortunately, director Brad Bird is unable to weave them into a cohesive narrative.  He's got the apocalyptic overtones akin to The Day After Tomorrow.  He's got the alternate dimension theme playing out as well.  He even has a secret group of elites known as "dreamers" whose history makes me think of Disney’s own National Treasure.  Despite the film’s runtime of 130 minutes, Bird is unable to get to the point of it all.  Simply put, he offers an underdeveloped narrative driven by themes that are not fully fleshed out.

Tomorrowland is the tale of two very different wolves, lightness and darkness.  On the light side of the cast, we have an old inventor named Frank Walker and a young girl named Casey Newton.  For his part as Walker, George Clooney does his best to not look silly, but this is a Disney adventure movie.  It's inevitable for an actor of his stature to seem a bit out of place in a campy flick like this.  That being said, he plays the grouch quite earnestly.  For her part as Casey Newton, Britt Robertson gives a decent performance.  I wouldn't say that she gives the most compelling performance we've seen, but she gets the job done.  On the dark side, we have Hugh Laurie as Governor David Nix.  He murders a British accent just to make his character appear more intelligent.  If you've seen the most recent episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, you'll understand exactly why this is so unnecessary.  All in all, Laurie fails to offer any deliciously over-the-top villainy as the antagonist.

It suffices to say that Tomorrowland ends our streak of good movies for the month of May.  It has good intentions but just never realizes its ambitions in an entertaining way.  It's just the opposite in fact.  It's a middling film that's weighed down by its ambition to be the next great sci-fi adventure.  With a better story and a healthy dose of movie magic, it might have been something better.  Alas, this is not the case.  Tomorrowland gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few electric lemonades with this one.