Tomorrow isn’t what it used to be...
This intriguing phrase was one of the opening lines in a film I watched recently.
Made in 2015 and starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson and Hugh Laurie, Tomorrowland is a delightfully bonkers mash-up of themes, stealing visual ideas from Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, Men in Black, and Wallace & Gromit.
Clooney plays Frank, a whacky inventor whose home, with its trapdoors, rockets and multiple scientific contraptions resembles Wallace and Gromit’s house (bathtub rocket anyone?). But Frank has lost the optimism of his youth and is now a grumpy, cynical recluse.
But then he meets Casey, a teenage girl who is not only an engineering prodigy but has bucket loads of idealism and a passion to change the world.
The film pulls no punches in outlining the problems facing the world (the Al Gore theme…) but makes a compelling case that we have become so accustomed to a gloomy portrayal of the future, we think it is inevitable and so no longer even try to change things.
‘Tomorrow isn’t what it used to be’ is a very neat way of saying optimism about the future has faded.
But…. Casey and Frank take off on a fast-paced time-travel trip to a possible future – chased by dark shadowy figures with futuristic weapons (the Men in Black style scenarios). They travel in a secret space-ship launched from the cellar of the Eiffel Tower – so Wallace and Gromit-esque!
Then lots of sci-fi-type stuff happens (mums with hover baby-buggies?) but also plenty of chatter about how to reverse the seeming inevitability of decline.
Hugh Laurie’s character was a bit of an enigma – I couldn’t work out if he was a baddie or a goodie… but possibly he just exemplified those who have become jaded, weary and had lost hope. At one point he says ‘There’s a possibility for a better future – problem is you won’t believe it, therefore, you won’t do what’s necessary to make it a reality.’
But Frank recovers his idealism – yay! and says to a crowd of young people that they must look for dreamers – people with ideas - and ‘Find the ones who haven’t given up’.
No spoilers – but there’s a lovely sequence at the end where different people from around the world, scientists, farmers, artists, urban gardeners, dancers etc, take up the challenge to put their ideas for a better world into practice.
Yes it’s bonkers… yes it’s an unashamed morality tale… but if you are feeling cynical about it – maybe the core message of the film isn’t far off?
So, if you’ve got an idea… listen to Frank – don’t give up...
...and, definitely watch the film* – it’s fab!
*On Disney+ or to rent/buy on Amazon Prime and Sky Store