Tomorrowland: A World Beyond – The DVDfever Cinema Review


Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is a film which looked intriguing from the trailer and clips I’d seen, but was ultimately flawed in its execution, not least because you felt like you’d seen the best of it before stepping foot into the cinema.

It centres around a futuristic pin which, if the owner touches it, transports them to a utopian place known as Tomorrowland, and as I left the cinema, I learned that Sepp Blatter had been forced out of FIFA – so it can work!

Unfortunately, you’ll also be wishing you were somewhere else while watching there. There’s a fair few great visuals on display, but after the first 45 minutes, this mostly gives way to present-day surburbia and a plot which either twists itself in knots or goes in directions which make you feel like screenwriters Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeff Jensen were making it up as they went along with a load of random ideas thrown together, until it reached the point where events descended into a dull lecture about global warming, going down the oft-quoted route that it’s all mankind’s fault. What a load of old fanny!

For a film that was clearly aimed at young children in its looks, I was curious to know why it had a 12-certificate. This was mostly for cartoon violence – which I won’t go into detail about as it would give spoilers – but it’s the sort of thing which shouldn’t be any worse than a PG-cert given how those scenes proceed.


Casey Newton bends down for a whole new experience… Oo-er, missus!

Tomorrowland is led by George Clooney as inventor Frank Walker, acting exactly as Clooney always does. He’s fine, but just doesn’t push the boat out, here. His character doesn’t like people touching his stuff – I can understand that as I hate that, too. Keep your hands to your own stuff, you noseybonks!

However, there’s promise in the two lead actresses – Britt Robertson as Casey Newton, who finds herself in possession of one of these pins, and Raffey Cassidy as Athena, whose background you will learn while you watch the film, and I don’t want to spoil things here.

There’s also Hugh Laurie – not putting on an American accent for a change – as nasty Nix, and that’s another problem with the film – it all falls down into a bog-standard tale between good and bad. Nothing new to see here, folks!

If you read my review of San Andreas, you’ll know the problem I described about trying to watch the end credits (as I stay for these) and then the lights were put on full blast, ruining a particular effect onscreen. This time? They were switched on full around three minutes before the end of the credits, completely ruining the atmosphere and also killing any effect of the post-credits scene. I’ve already complained about that to the Odeon and I shall be following it up with this experience.

Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film including that bizarre aspect ratio!


George Clooney grumbles his way through the script (if you can call it that)


In addition, there was another situation that could’ve been curtailed if the staff had been paying attention as you would expect. Since it was a Disney film, some parents had brought in their children. Fine… normally, but around halfway through, I noticed that two young children (aged around 4), with their mother, a few rows from the front, were babbling away, standing up out of their seat, and then eventually started walking off into unoccupied aisles, with one went walking up the stairs to hassle one of the audience. Now, the plot did end up going off the rails as I said, and it would get quite confusing for young children, but what sort of parent lets their children stand up and start wandering about the auditorium? What if they’d turned round and fallen down the stairs? Young children don’t have the greatest of spatial awareness.

And where were the staff in all of this? Each screen can be seen from the lobby via infra red screens, so the staff can see what’s going on. I posted about this problem online and everyone condemned the mother – who didn’t even give so much as a “shush!” to the children – for not keeping control of her children. One person suggested I should’ve gone out to the staff and asked for an usher to come in and resolve the situation, but by the time I’ve gone out, found someone, explained it all and got them to come back with me, that’s ten minutes of the film gone for me.

Eventually, she took them out (for good?), but clearly just went to the loo and came back. After that, they *still* didn’t shut up. The mother just did naff all else!


Hugh Laurie – Supey Twist!

And another problem with the film – the aspect ratio. Most films come within either a 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 ratio. Sometimes this can vary inbetween for IMAX, or even open up to 1.44:1 if those scenes are shot on film with IMAX cameras (eg. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, plus The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises). However, that’s for films intended for an IMAX screen, and there are frequently times when a film is presented in 2.35:1 for most cinema screens, whilst the IMAX ratio opens up occasionally to show more image (Nolan’s aforementioned films, plus The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Transformers: Age of Extinction).

Before I saw Tomorrowland, clips I had seen were all in 2.35:1, while IMDB stated that the IMAX ratio had some scenes in 1.90:1 but it also quotes ratios of 1.85:1 and 2.20:1. Well, what I saw looked somewhere inbetween. It looked around 2.00:1, as the bars at the top and bottom were too thick for 1.90:1, and the ratio on display maintained the same throughout. This was a problem because my local Odeon has most screens in a 2.35:1 ratio and some in a 1.85:1 ratio.

For some reason, the 2.35:1 films (on a 2.35:1-sized screen) never come in an anamorphic squeeze like they used to many moons ago. The equipment is set up so that the film is projected onto the screen, as if it would fit the 1.85:1 centre area with black bars top and bottom, and then it is automatically zoomed in to fill the 2.35:1 screen in full. Tomorrowland was showing on two screens and my chosen screening time was on one of the 2.35:1 screens (screen 16 at Odeon, Trafford Centre), so based on the clips I’d seen, then once the trailers and adverts (shown in the 1.85:1 centre) had finished, the curtains would open up and the film would be presented in 2.35:1, but no. There were black bars within the 1.85:1-sized screen, so given that I knew the screen CAN open up to 2.35:1, it felt like I was watching a windowboxed image.

In short – while I don’t want to lose any image normally, I think director Brad Bird should’ve taken this print and made a 2.35:1 version from it, and used THAT for the non-IMAX screens. That way, it would’ve stretched across the entire width of the wall and had a damn sight more impact than just simply making me feel like I was watching a big TV screen.

Technically, an alternative would be to open up the curtains and zoom the picture in slightly so that it reaches the full height of the screen and still retains the 2.00:1 ratio on display. However, I’m assuming, as mentioned earlier, that this zooming is automatic and that there’s no ‘inbetween’ for this process.

Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD.


The young Frank Walker with Athena

Detailed specs:

Running time: 114 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros
Year: 2015
Format: 2.00:1 (F55 RAW (4K) and F65 RAW (4K))
Released: May 22nd 2015
Rating: 5/10

Director: Brad Bird
Producers: Brad Bird, Jeffrey Chernov and Damon Lindelof
Screenplay: Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird (based on a story by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeff Jensen)
Music: Michael Giacchino

Frank Walker: George Clooney
Casey Newton: Britt Robertson
Athena: Raffey Cassidy
Nix: Hugh Laurie
Eddie Newton: Tim McGraw
Ursula: Kathryn Hahn
Hugo: Keegan-Michael Key
Frank’s Dad: Chris Bauer
Young Frank Walker: Thomas Robinson
Nate Newton: Pierce Gagnon
Dave Clark: Matthew MacCaull
Jenny Newton: Judy Greer
Bus Driver: Matthew Kevin Anderson
Small World Operator: Michael Giacchino
Skyscraper Foreman: D. Harlan Cutshall
Young Casey Newton: Shiloh Nelson
Civilian: Georgie-May Tearle (uncredited)


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