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'Tomorrowland' Blu-ray Review: The future shines even brighter on hi-def

October 30, 2015Ben MK

Whatever happened to our sense of optimism? That's the question that lies at the heart of writer/director Brad Bird's Tomorrowland, a film that takes into account Hollywood's seemingly endless preoccupation with disaster epics and post-apocalyptic genre fare and goes in the complete opposite direction — delivering a tale about dreamers and their potential to change the world for the better.

George Clooney plays Frank Walker, a disillusioned inventor who lives a quiet life holed up in his upstate New York farmhouse, surrounded by all manner of state-of-the-art knick knacks and doodads. But it wasn't always this way: Frank used to be a bright-eyed young boy (Thomas Robinson) who dreamt of soaring through the sky with his rocket-powered jet pack — until one day he finally did, thanks to a little help from Athena (Raffey Cassidy), a mysterious girl from the futuristic city of Tomorrowland, which Frank discovers after stepping through a portal to an alternate reality at the 1964 World's Fair.

So why is present-day Frank so disillusioned, and how did he end up such a recluse? Well that might have something to do with Tomorrowland's leader, David Nix (Hugh Laurie), who banished Frank from the utopian techno-paradise. Ever since then, Frank has resigned himself to counting down both his days and the world's. Blaming it all on humanity's lack of optimism, his faith is restored when teenaged Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) shows up at his doorstep. A spunky dreamer just like Frank's younger self, Casey might just be the one who can help humankind avert its dire fate. To do so, however, she'll need both Frank and Athena's help.

Oddly enough, Tomorrowland didn't do too well at the box office, with many critics bemoaning the movie's storyline (co-written by Lost's Damon Lindelof) as being clunky and lackluster. However, if it's whiz-bang special effects and a rip-roaring adventure you're after, there's still plenty of fun to be had. The film's visuals are a feast for the eyes, full of retro-fantastic visions of the future, and the performances, especially Cassidy and Robertson, are exceptional. If you're a fan of Bird's The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, you can't really go wrong with Tomorrowland.

Robust colors, crystal-clear clarity and pitch-perfect contrast sum up the look of Tomorrowland on Blu-ray. In other words, this is another flawless transfer from Disney, perfectly capturing the movie's visuals, from the massive, towering constructs that populate the city of Tomorrowland itself to the tiniest piece of stubble on George Clooney's chin. As for the disc's sound quality, it's a surefire winner as well, coming in the form of a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack that immerses viewers in all the aural nuances Tomorrowland has to offer. Whether it's the whirring engines of hover cars, laser fire or even a rocket launch from the Eiffel Tower, you couldn't ask for a more enjoyable home theater listening experience.

Disney's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes a DVD and an iTunes digital copy, as well as the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Remembering The Future: A Personal Journey Through Tomorrowland With Brad Bird (7:09) - Bird explains how his childhood memories of the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland and the ambition of NASA's space program tie into the themes of his film.
  • Casting Tomorrowland (7:27) - A look not only at the film's cast, but also at the talent behind the camera, as well as a peek at some of the stunt work.
  • A Great Big Beautiful Scoring Session (6:03) - Composer Michael Giacchino talks about his score for the film, from working with his good friend Brad Bird to incorporating the music of the legendary Richard Sherman into the soundtrack.
  • The World of Tomorrow Science Hour - Hosted By Futurologist David Nix (5:08) - Faux outtakes from a failed 1965 educational TV show, starring Hugh Laurie as his character, David Nix.
  • Animated Short: The Origins Of Plus Ultra (3:26) - A faux 1960s-era animated short explaining the origins of the group known as Plus Ultra, which plays a key role in the film.
  • Brad Bird Production Diaries (4:34) - Two very brief production diaries shot by Bird himself ("The First Day" and "NASA"), which give viewers a glimpse at what happened during filming on the first day, as well as on-location at Cape Canaveral.
  • Blast From The Past Commercial (0:41) - A faux commercial for the kitschy toy and hobby store that Casey visits in search of more information about Tomorrowland.
  • Deleted Scenes With Filmmaker Introductions (23:28) - Six scenes in total ("Joking On The Eiffel Tower," "Young Casey vs. The Volcano," "Doomsday Living Room," "As Originally Written Casey The Downer," "What Happened To Tomorrowland?" and "What Is Tomorrowland?").

Tomorrowland is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of October 13th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 10 Mins.

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