Gorgeous George Clooney turns Grumpy George in Tomorrowland, the new movie from director Brad Bird.
The maker of The Incredibles is a master of animated flicks such as The Iron Giant, and did a good job with Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol. Alas, despite plugging the eponymous attraction, this looks like one big advert for a holiday at Epcot.
It's not hard to see where the $190m budget went. An endless array of special effects and set pieces with George intermittently furthering the story.
It opens with GC's piece to camera, while an off-screen girl interrupts him and a ticking countdown.
Turns out said girl, Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), has a habit of breaking into NASA (their security is dreadful apparently) to ensure her dad gets employment.
After getting bail from her father, she finds a magical pin/badge. (Wonder how many of those will shift in the coming months).
Imagine Casey's surprise when she's transported to a futuristic land.
Eventually she crosses paths with Frank Walker (Grumpy George), whose negativity is understandable as he knows when the world is going to end.
Because this is a movie based on a theme park, it's necessary to include a steampunk rocket from the attraction.
However, once that set piece is exhausted, the third act turns into a generic mess.
Problem is too much weight rests on the shoulders of a precocious Brit moppet (Raffey Cassidy) and the super smart Casey.
Good actresses, but not strong enough to prop up this behemoth of a production.
Hugh Laurie pops up as Nix, a shady character; the visuals are often dazzling and when seen in Dbox, it feels like I'm at Epcot.
Sadly I don't care about any of the characters and the last 10 minutes looks like an horrendous Disney recruitment video.
Don't get me wrong, I'd quite happily work at Disney, but this finale is more annoying than inspiring. Kids may lap it up. I felt a cavity forming.
It's not a bad movie, but throwing a fortune in effects at the screen does not magic make.
It will earn its money back eventually, but I wanted to feel moved and thrilled rather than just... 'Hmmm'.
However, Britt's speech about feuding wolves is easily one of my favourite of the year, a superb analogy about fighting depression, and Laurie "caught monologuing" at the end is a beautifully written piece. Take a bow Brad and Damon Lindelof.
It's worth a look on the big screen, but I get the feeling it'll be a flop on a par with John Carter rather than a Pirates of the Caribbean-style smash.Suggest a correction