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There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is… which wolf wins?” Casey encouraged.

I always trust Brad Bird for his keen, inventive storytelling; and mostly for his compact vision to the story he directs, like in his animation features (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille). When it came to his first live-action feature (see MI4: Ghost Protocol), I begin to admire his stylish blockbuster action directing, with excellent action choreography and visual spectacles that projects grand designs. Yet, his latest collaboration with Disney in Tomorrowland is something different; it has all Bird’s live-action qualities minus his trademark keen storytelling.

It started up (and massively speculated) as a based-on-true-story Disney’s conspiracy film or Disney’s mega-site, Tomorrowland, connection; yet, none of those speculations came into fruition. Tomorrowland is a family sci-fi film about finding a mysterious place somewhere in time and space, or let’s say, finding a futuristic neverland by interconnecting stories of its two main protagonist—Frank Walker (George Clooney) and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson).

The concept was grand and incredible—a place where all the world’s savants assembled and created something bigger than life: Tomorrowland. The visuals were astonishing in building the titular place to make it as jaw-dropping as possible, as comfortable as possible; with vibrant skyscrapers and flying vehicles, great air and trees as well as defying-the-gravity swimming pool. Every particular scene was staged well (Bird’s expertise) whether the scene contained action set-piece or sci-fi exhibition. So, basically Tomorrowland was an extravagant fair of Bird’s visual quality… minus the effective storytelling.

Not once the plot was pointless—walking in the same place for no responsible reason. Bird, who wrote the story with Damon Lindelof (World War Z), was inconsistent in unraveling mysteries underlying Tomorrowland—making series of unnecessary, questionable plot-holes and uneven storytelling. The result was: audiences, like me, lost the urgency of the presented conflict and realized its lazy narrative treatment.

In the end, Tomorrowland is still amazing as a summer entertainment, although it sounds preachy in certain events. It proved that, even, having all best qualities in visuals, directing, and budgeting; good script was an important element in making excellent movies that live up the budget.

VERDICTTomorrowland was an extravagant fair of Bird’s visual quality without his keen, effective storytelling.

Tomorrowland (2015)

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Directed by: Brad Bird Written by: Brad Bird & Damon Lindelof Starred by: Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw Running Time: 130 mins Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language

IMDb | Official Site

Secara pribadi, saya selalu mengagumi gaya penceritaan Brad Bird yang telaten dan penuh inovasi; apalagi visinya akan film yang ia sutradarai, contohnya seperti di film-film animasinya (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille). Ketika ia menggarap live-action pertamanya (MI4: Ghost Protocol), saya makin mengagumi penyutradaraannya yang stylish: penuh koreografi aksi yang luar biasa ditambah visualnya yang memproyeksikan disain yang grand. Namun, proyek terbarunya dengan Disney, Tomorrowland justru sangat berbeda; memiliki semua kualitas Bird minus gaya penceritaannya yang telaten.

Awalnya diduga sebagai film konspirasi Disney bahkan dikait-kaitkan dengan mega-site Tomorrowland; namun tak satupun menjadi kenyataan. Tomorrowland adalah film sci-fi tentang menemukan sebuah tempat misterius di antara ruang dan waktu, atau katakanlah, mencari neverland dengan mempertemukan kisah kedua protagonisnya—Frank Walker (George Clooney) dan Casey Newton (Britt Robertson).

Konsepnya memang luar biasa—tempat di mana semua jenius di bumi bergabung dan menciptakan sesuatu yang bigger than life: Tomorrowland. Visualnya sangat keren dalam membangun dunianya, membuatnya semengagumkan mungkin, senyaman mungkin: dengan pencakar langir warna-warni, kendaraan yang beterbangan, serta kolam renang berteknologi unik. Setiap scene-nya dieksekusi dengan baik (memang keahlian Bird) baik yang berkadar aksi maupun sci-fi. Basically, Tomorrowland adalah pertunjukan kualitas visual Bird yang jor-joran… minus gaya penceritaannya yang efektif.

Beberapa kali plotnya terasa hambar—jalan di tempat tanpa alasan pasti. Bird, yang menulis skripnya dengan Damon Lindelof (World War Z), tidak konsisten dalam mengungkap misteri di balik Tomorrowland; terus-terusan menghasilkan plot-holes yang tidak penting dan menghadirkan penceritaan yang tidak imbang. Hasilnya: penonton mungkin saja kehilangan urgency akan plotnya sekaligus menyadari plot malasnya.

Memang akhirnya Tomorrowland tetaplah hiburan musim panas yang keren meskipun terkesan menceramahi di beberapa poin. Hal itu membuktikan bahwa kualitas visual, penyutradaraan, serta budgeting belum menjamin sebuah film orisinal akan mengesankan. Skrip yang mampu mengimbangi semua kualitas di ataslah yang bisa menjaminnya.

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