Tomorrowland, as visually stunning of a blockbuster as we’ve ever seen, certainly boasts all that technical ambition. But what sets it apart from what we’re used to is a little bit of moral aspiration, too.
The ideas of Tomorrowland, if occasionally heavy-handed, are admirably resonant. How do you wake people up out of their somnambulant compliance and get them not just optimistic about the future, but engaged in charting the direction of it?
In fact, a lot of the scoffing at the film’s Big Idea ambition speaks to the jadedness and state of culture that Tomorrowland actually seeks to expose and confront. Given the rolled-eye reaction to a lot of it, perhaps the challenge is greater than even the film estimates.
Maybe George Clooney and his big summer movie aren’t changing the world yet. But it’s at least changing the discussion.