How to Show Character

This message has nothing to do with the comic I’m posting to the site today, but it was attached to the comic I sent out to subscribers, which mentions the movie Tomorrowland. I’m posting it here too because if you’re at all interested in my opinion, I want you to hear that opinion while the movie is still showing in theaters.

I never do this, but I’m going to discuss a movie that was made after 1995. I know this isn’t the kind of thing you come to me for, so feel free to stop reading here if you want. You won’t hurt my feelings.

(Note: I no longer work for Disney. My wife has put in her notice {because we are going to move to another state soon}. Neither of us ever had anything to do with the film division. What I’m writing here is just my honest opinion)

I saw Tomorrowland over the weekend.

Right now, the narrative in the press is that Tomorrowland is a huge disappointment. That it didn’t have a good opening weekend, and that the film itself isn’t very good.

The projections were that the movie would be the top box office draw of the weekend, and would make $50 million dollars. It was the top box office draw, but it only made $41.7 million, on a weekend when ticket sales for all movies across the board were lower than expected.

The quality of the movie is subjective. I think the commercials led people to expect a futuristic action/comedy about George Clooney and his young female sidekick. What they got was a throwback to Disney movies like Escape to Witch Mountain, in which two smart young people (both female in this case) evade pursuers on a cross country trip to find a grumpy old crank (Clooney) who can help them reach their final destination.

I can see where someone expecting to see a high-tech Danny Ocean would be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean the movie’s not a good example of what it actually is.

It isn’t the best thing Brad Bird has ever directed (That’d be The Incredibles) and it’s not the best thing Damon Lindelof has written, (Yes, I like Damon Lindelof. Shut up!) but it’s not the “dud” some people would have you believe.

What it is, is a message picture, and despite the film’s flaws (I’ll admit, Missy and I spent some time after seeing it trying to figure out why certain things happened) the message resonated with me to an almost embarrassing degree. I knew a guy who saw Fight Club, then actually talked about starting a fight club. He was an idiot. But, I walked out of this movie wanting someone to hand me a Tomorrowland pin.

If, like me, you think that a can-do attitude is more productive than giving up, and that feeding on negativity might not actually be healthy, than please consider seeing it, preferably with your kids. I’m not promising it’ll be your favorite movie, but there are people who seem to want you to think it’ll be your least favorite, and I don’t think they’re right.

As always, thanks for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

How to Discuss Something Unimportant That Bothers You »

Reader Comments (19)

Heads up that the word meaning "delusionalness" is "delusion" :P

May 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTelanis

Scott - thank you for that. I was on the fence, and you have influenced my decision. For some reason, I consider you more trustworthy on this issue than the no-neck monsters the local newspapers permit to review movies.

And yeah! for the return of Moon Emperor! His never say die, always say ouch attitude is an inspiration for all of us. And Moon Minion's arm stretch in panel three - I do that too. It's like crossing your legs, except not painful.

May 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

I'm sorry you'll be leaving our glorious Sunshine State. Please don't settle in Nebraska. They don't have any internet in Nebraska. They have cans on strings. The data transfer rate on such a technology is abysmal.

We are DEFINITELY not moving to Nebraska. The idea of living somewhere with snow in the winters gives me the shivers. ~Missy

May 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

"...a can-do attitude is more productive than giving up, and... feeding on negativity might not actually be healthy..."

Wow. If only our leaders and corporate media would understand this.

Coincidentally, I was earlier today reviewing an SF artist's journal on deviantART that was making a similar point. I guess I'm not alone in my frustration about this country's negative attitudes; it's great to see others besides myself actually trying to convince others to have a more positive outlook. Thanks for sharing!

(And yes, thanks to your mini-review of sorts, I'll actually make a point to see this film! "Only" made $41 million? Sheesh, I wish studios cared more about telling interesting/entertaining stories than about the Bottom Line Dollar Sign.)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCR

@Telanis:

What's wrong with one of the moon men using poor grammar? People do so often in real life, and the comic is just reflecting that.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Tomorrowland got a similarly balanced review from BBC Radio's Kermode & Mayo Film show/podcast.

Non-Brits are made to feel very welcome, so long as you say hello to Jason Isaacs...

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

YES! Yes! A thousand times yes!

I loved Tomorrowland, mostly for the reasons you listed, but also because it made me so darn happy. It's about time we get an optimistic look at the future from a mainstream film. And I know Mad Max: Fury Road is currently being touted as the greatest action movie of the past few decades, but I'm still not going to see it, and you know why? I don't like dystopias! Never have! They're depressing! (And I get the sense from this movie that Bird and Lindelof don't, either.)

Pretty much all of the negative reviews I've seen complain that the movie is "preachy", but it always feels like the critics who say that are the ones who this movie was trying to reach (that or the fact that it's kind of cheesy, but like you said, the '60s/'70s Disney tone was intentional, and I think it worked).

Side note: I went to see this on Friday, and once the movie was over, I went out to chat with the person working in the box office. After I told him I liked it, he said, "Oh, hey, do you want one of these?" and handed me a pin. "Apparently we're supposed to be giving these out, but I just found them." So not only did someone actually hand me a pin to Tomorrowland, but I also got an fake Disneyland E-ticket.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Always remember the point of a thing. As an English lesson delusionalness would be a failure. If, however, the point were to amuse, say in a web comic, delusionalness is the superior choice.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEaving

Interesting post Scott...plus, don't leave us hanging, where are you going?

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

Quote from film review: "If, like me, you think that a can-do attitude is more productive than giving up," which resonates quite strongly with the comic in a strange sort of way.

Still enjoyed the comic though. haven't seen the film.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStevie Hair

So the next time I go to the Tower of Terror, I won't be able to wonder if "that guy over there" is really Scott? That added a thrill to the ride.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBob P.

Sorry to hear you are leaving Floriduh. Just knowing you were here made it a little less duh.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Matthew wrote: I'm sorry you'll be leaving our glorious Sunshine State. Please don't settle in Nebraska. They don't have any internet in Nebraska. They have cans on strings. The data transfer rate on such a technology is abysmal.

Matthew, obviously you are misinformed, as are most people who really don't know a damned thing about anything outside of their tiny little sphere of awareness. Of course they have internet in Nebraska and in most places it is usually high speed. I was in Valentine Nebraska over the past weekend and I even had 4g on my cell phone there. They also have lots of cattle and horses around there, the most beautiful scenery you will find anywhere, cowboys and Indians, and some of the most handsome women on the planet. A good looking gal in a pair of tight Wranglers, a pair of Tony Lamas, and a belt buckle the size of Houston will get even an old fart like me to sit up and take notice. So don't knock what you don't know an eff'n thing about.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Obvious

I agree that delusion would fit but I think delusionalness fits better even though it is not a real word.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWQR

Sometimes a movie will be marketed in ways that really mislead what it is all about. For me the worst example of this was Bicentennial Man. The trailers made it out to be a typical Robin Williams comedy but it was actually really true to the Asimov story – a hard SF drama. I guess the marketing department figured that the best way to draw people in for that all-important opening weekend was to lie to them. Then they did the opposite with I, Robot, pretending that it was based on Asimov when in fact it was a schlock AI-gone-wrong story.

That's my rant. Now I will go see Tomorrowland.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermnikolic

I just want to make it clear that The Iron Giant is Brad Bird's best work. ;-)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharles

As a refugee from Florida myself (ten glorious years and counting), just let me say "well done!"

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJudas Peckerwood

I stopped reading movie reviews after Terminator 2 was trashed by Siskel and Ebert for the fact that the role of "crazy-seeming woman turns out to be right" had been done before.
That review disappeared, to be replaced with a lukewarm-positive one, but I know what I saw.
Reviewers don't know one more thing about the quality of a movie than the rest of us, but they're a whole lot more jaded.

May 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDee

I just wondered about your^W uh Rocket Hat's motivation here. He gets captured REALLY easily. Yet escapes REALLY easily.

Is it because the Moon Men are good enough to deal with Rocket Hat or because he wants to beat up the Moon Emperor?

May 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWow

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