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Non-Review Review: Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland encapsulates a number of recurring themes in American mainstream science-fiction,

In many respects, it harks to sixties utopianism. Tomorrowland positions itself as a spiritual companion piece to films like Star Trek or X-Men: First Class or Interstellar. Although most of the film is set in the present day, its retro futurism is firmly anchored fifty years in the past. An early flashback takes place in the 1964 World’s Fair. Space flight is explicitly described as the “new frontier”, recalling Kennedy’s famous speech. Tomorrowland is absolutely fascinated with the idea of organised space flight as a beacon calling mankind forward.

Field of dreams...

Field of dreams…

It almost seems like, to paraphrase George W. Bush, “The future was better yesterday.” There is a paradoxical nostalgia to Tomorrowland, which feels like a desperate plea for the modern generation to abandon their own visions of the future and embrace those of their predecessors. It is a fascinating conflict at the heart of the film, and not necessarily one that writer Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof comfortably resolve. There are aspects of Tomorrowland that do feel distinctly uncomfortable and contradictory.

At the same time, it feels like a genuine and heartfelt criticism of the tendency towards the apocalyptic in mainstream fiction – an impassioned and aggressive urge to embrace a more hopeful and optimistic future. Tomorrowland has its heart in the right place, but it occasionally gets a little lost.

Going against the grain...

Going against the grain…

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Home of the Brave: Is Brave a Pixar Princess Movie?

I have to admit, I’m having a hard time getting too excited about Brave. To be honest, the notion of an original Pixar movie should be a breath of fresh air after the incredibly disappointing Cars 2. The studio is, after all, responsible for quite a few modern classics – those rare cinematic treats that the entire family can sit down and enjoy together. However, despite my deep-biding affection for classics like Wall-E, Up, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles or any of the Toy Story films, I can’t seem to be too concerned about the approaching release of the studio’s latest animated effort. I can’t help but feel that – despite the fact it’s their first film that isn’t a sequel in quite some time – we’ve seen this all before.

Is Brave just a Pixar “princess” movie, the spiritual successor to the long line of Disney “princess” movies?

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Non-Review Review: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol reminds me – and, I feel the need to specify this, in a good way – of one of the Bond films from before Casino Royale made them all grittier and edgier. No disrespect to that fantastic film, but the relatively serious remodelling of Britain’s most famous secret agent left a bit of a gap in the market for an espionage thriller that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And while Ghost Protocol takes a great deal of pride in doing what it sets out to do with a great deal of skill, it certainly never takes itself too seriously. And that proves to be a very good thing, indeed.

Keeping me on edge...

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