Tomorrowland

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Tomorrowland Movie Poster Image
Visually exciting sci-fi adventure has unexpected violence.
  • PG
  • 2015
  • 130 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 37 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 43 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Dreamers must stick together, innovators never give up, and knowing how things work can change the world. Inspiration and invention can change the world. Curiosity and persistence are valued; optimism trumps pessimism. Life is made up of two forces (described as "wolves"): darkness and despair vs. light and hope -- the winner depends on which one you feed most (i.e. success depends on feeding light and hope).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Casey is eternally optimistic and encourages both her father and Frank to think on the bright side and come up with ways to stay positive and hopeful. She breaks lots of rules and runs off without telling her dad, but her choices are all focused on accomplishing something big. Frank starts off as a cynical, suspicious crank, but he redeems himself. Athena is a positive force who believes in the power of her "special" recruits. Frank's dad discourages him as a child; Casey's is the opposite. 

Violence

Frequent explosions, chases, crashes, falls, and peril. Relentless robot soldiers kill several people with guns that disintegrate them; it's startling and happens several times, sometimes disturbingly casually. They also shoot at and try to kill the main characters. Other weapons cause fires/destruction and remove (robot) body parts. In one scene, it seems like a major character has died, but he's saved. But significant characters do die (one is particularly sad), and there's a notable body count as a result of fights/crashes/battles. Some hand-to-hand combat. Footage of riots, war, storms, nuclear bombs, and more devastation shown on TV/computer screens.

Sex

Young Frank has a crush on Athena; some longing looks.

Language

Incomplete phrases include "what the --," "you little --," and "son of a --." Also "hell," "damn," "piss it off," "bollocks," "oh my God!," "idiots," "stupid," "dumb," "bloody," etc.

Consumerism

The movie's title is inspired by a region of Disneyland/Disney World (the area with Space Mountain, the People Mover, etc.), and tons of Disney-related brands/products are featured, including the Small World ride, Star Wars memorabilia, the White Rabbit, and the song from the Carousel of Progress ("There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow"), to name just a few. Other brands include Coca-Cola, Jeep, Chevy, Cadillac, iPhone, Oreo, Pepsi, Electrolux, Beeman's gum, eBay, Tesla, and Greyhound.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tomorrowland is a live-action Disney adventure starring George Clooney about innovators from the past and present who unite to save the world. Although it's tween friendly, the movie does contain some startlingly violent action sequences: Robotic villains shoot and kill people in several scenes, instantly disintegrating them -- sometimes disturbingly casually (the body count undermines the movie's otherwise all-ages appeal). Main characters are in near-constant peril; they're shot at, they fall from heights, they get in furious hand-to-hand fights, and more. One significant character appears to die, and another actually does, in a sad scene. Language includes insults like "idiot" and "stupid," plus "damn," "hell," and some cut-off phrases like "son of a!" While there's no substance use or racy content, there is a whole lot of consumerism, primarily due to the nonstop Disney references (the movie's title and themes were inspired by an area of Disneyland) and the prominent presence of brands like Coke, Pepsi, iPhone, and more. Still, families will appreciate the clearly positive messages about using innovation, invention, and engineering to make the future a brighter, better place.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 year old Written bygatorjackie May 22, 2015

Surprised the site says 11-year-old

I know we have a very mature 5 year old daughter who doesn't scare easily, but I would think this film would be a green light for most 7 year olds and ques... Continue reading
Parent of a 7, 8, 8, and 15 year old Written byKLSMAA May 23, 2015

Great Message But For Children 10+

I really enjoyed Tomorrowland. The messages of optimism and desire to make the world a better place; were presented very well. Special effects and imagery were... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 23, 2015

Think Again!

Yesterday, my mum and I went to see Disney's new movie, Tomorrowland. I was looking so forward to it, and it really wasn't what I expected, in good wa... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byStevie111 May 22, 2015

Interesting but Imperfect sci-fi film isn't all that family friendly

This film was interesting and for the most part entertaining, but a little dark for kids. It had some mature themes that would probably be better suited for adu... Continue reading

What's the story?

TOMORROWLAND is a sci-fi adventure that starts with curmudgeonly Frank Walker (George Clooney) discussing how the future was different when he was a kid. In a flashback to the 1964 New York World's Fair, a young Frank (Thomas Robinson) enters a competition for inventors with his homemade jet pack; the head judge (Hugh Laurie) isn't overly impressed, but a mysterious young girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy) appreciates Frank's enthusiasm and gives him a magical "T" pin that unlocks the gateway to Tomorrowland. Fifty years later, in the present, Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is the brilliant, optimistic daughter of a soon-to-be-unemployed NASA engineer (Tim McGraw). Athena (still looking like a little girl) secretly leaves Casey the same kind of "T" pin she gave Frank so long ago. When Casey finds it, she's transported to a bright and shiny alternate dimension. Soon, thanks to Athena's involvement, Casey travels across the country to meet Frank; together they must find their way back to Tomorrowland so they can save the Earth's future.

Is it any good?

Director Brad Bird delivers spectacular visuals and thrilling action sequences. Unfortunately, the unnecessarily convoluted plot, disturbingly casual violence, and heavy-handed messages make for an ultimately underwhelming experience. Considering the movie's hype and Bird's reputation (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant), Tomorrowland was expected to be one of 2015's best family films. And while kids are bound to enjoy the sci-fi spectacle aspects, some adults will wonder what the fuss is about, and cynics may well stand firm in their belief that it's basically a two-hour commercial for Disneyland/Disney World's Tomorrowland.

The movie offers undeniably positive messages: Dreamers have to stick together, ideas are worth fighting for, knowing how things work is important, and inventors must never give up on their innovations, because they can literally change the future. These are all worthy ideas that kids (and adults) should take to heart. But messages and eye-popping visuals aside, the story is missing an important layer of emotional depth. Casey barely thinks twice about abandoning her father and brother to go in search of answers about her mysterious "T" pin. The villains remain rather unexplained outside of the Agent Smith-like robots who can dematerialize innocent passersby, police officers, and pretty much anyone who gets in their way. And it takes way too long for everyone to make their way back to Tomorrowland. Still, despite the movie's many flaws, the performances (what a standout Cassidy is as Athena!) and action scenes will entertain viewers -- just not enough to claim a spot in the canon among the best Disney films.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of movies about the future. How does the future in Tomorrowland -- both the fantasy version and the more Earth-bound one -- compare to other movies that tackle the topic? What do you think the future will be like?

  • How much violence does the movie show? Do the deaths mean less because there's no blood? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Are Casey and Frank role models? Both make dangerous choices (and in Casey's case, even illegal), but their goals are ultimately positive ones. Does that excuse everything they do?

  • What do you think about all of the movie's Disney references and themes? Would you have liked it as much without them? Does the movie make you want to visit Tomorrowland in Disneyland or Disneyworld? Do you think that was the intent?

Movie details

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