Movie Rec: Tomorrowland


Yes, yes. I know. It sounds like yet another movie based on a Disney ride. And we all still remember how Pirates of the Caribbean turned out.

But this one… does things a little differently.

And better yet, it shows evidence that Disney is learning from its past abominations mistakes.

For starters, it’s a girl’s hero-journey disguised as a guy’s. Viewers are supposed to think it’s all about George Clooney rather than the starry-eyed Britt Robertson’s. And once they get suckered in to the action - it’s too late.

The major cast members are an evenly-balanced four: The hero (Casey Newton), the questgiver/guide (Athena), the mentor (Frank Walker) and the villain (David Nix). Though when it comes to bit-parts, the speaking roles tend to lean heavily towards the male side of the scales.

They’re still learning.

However, we must remember that, in the course of the adventure, this movie passes:

  1. The Bechdel Test,
  2. The Mako Mori Test,
  3. AND that one where a woman does not die to fuel a man’s character arc.

It fails the Sexy Lamp test, but in order to pass that, one has to successfully replace a female character with a sexy lamp. So failing that one is a good thing.

Mind you, some of the male bit-characters could have easily been so replaced. Forgive me if I feel a frisson of glee about that one.

Ah, but what about colour representation, I hear you cry.

I admit, it’s a very white movie. Tokenism abounds, especially in crowd scenes. BUT - the important part is the choice of the next generation of heroes. Tomorrowland needs dreamers, people who won’t give up on building a better tomorrow.

Those are the people of the future. And they are, of a majority, people of colour. The token white person in that last sequence of heroes is also a woman.

Yes, none of these people have lines. Yes, all of these people are supposed to be seen as heroes. Yes, they are all colours, all ages, and all around the globe.

Disney is showing signs of progress. I think we should encourage that.

Otherwise, they’ll use it as an excuse to never try again.