Tag Archives: Brad Bird

Tomorrowland – Directed by Brad Bird for Disney

A few months ago I saw one trailer for “Tomorrowland” and managed to avoid everything about it since. That one trailer promised to transport us to the futuristic world of the title and the film does just that but not in the way I imagined. For a sci-fi movie the grounded atmosphere, in one sense, follows in the the legacy of Spielberg’s “Close Encounter of a Third Kind” and “ET – The Extra Terrestrial” and in another sense it pays many sweet homages to the U.S.’s view of the future as it was imagined up to and in the 1960s and sci-fi films since.


George Clooney’s Frank Walker, coming from a long line of Disney’s disillusioned inventors, has been kicked out of Tomorrowland (for spoiler reasons I will not go into) and is persuaded to return by two of the films real stars Britt Robertson as Casey and Raffey Cassidy’s Athena. Robertson is one of the coolest rebel girls-next-door characters you could meet and you root for her all the way while Cassidy plays Athena with a curious grown-up mix of charm and underlying agenda.

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..?Disney 2015

There are nods to “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang”, “The Jetsons”, even “The Matrix” and more. In one scene there is an entire shop full of homages. It is plain to see that Brad Bird had dealt mostly with animated entertainment up to now as the action is directed very much with that kind of an eye, for instance, there is a lovely moment with Clooney’s guard dog that is straight out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. More of the movie’s style come’s from his animation backgrounds, the chases, the set design’s, the humour (one character nods directly to his earlier movie “The Iron Giant”). Bird infuses the story with his always unsentimental warmth, packed it full of great gadgets, and lots of universally accessible humour.


While I would recommend it and the clear message it delivers to children (and adults) about holding onto your early dreams and being overwhelmingly positive, there is something lacking in the movie as a whole. Perhaps the evil threat (while all encompassing) wasn’t delivered with the impact it deserved, or the baddies, while entertaining, were a little to distant and even somewhat benign. Or Perhaps Bird was making a film about ‘chasing your dreams and not giving up’ for his own generation and somewhere along the way today’s children were a little obscured from the vision.

The verdict… it is lovely, entertaining and funny but not as consistently so as three of his previous film which I have adored, “The Iron Giant”, “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”.

Tomorrowland is in cinemas now  7/10


Flightless Bird Cruises

Operator… operator…, this is impossible.

One of the trailers before the feature was for Haywire (deeply rooted in Nikita).  It has all the hallmarks of a female Jason Bourne with double cross instead of  the memory loss, it reflects the strong influence of The Bourne Trilogy. It stands as one of the action franchises that kept its basic integrity.

But I had come to the cinema to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol the fourth instalment in this franchise that had so far disappointed me. I had rented out 2 and 3.

So why was I there?

Two words… Brad Bird.

After The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille I was eager to see what this director could do with a live action feature and an unstable franchise.

First 30 mins spoilers in Next Paragraph.

Opening with man escaping from a rooftop in true Mission Impossible style we then cut to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) being sprung from a Moscow prison only then to be involved in a a theft at the Kremlin which ends up in tears and Hunt finds himself handcuffed to a gurney in a nearby hospital. Apart from the gurney the rest sounds like the plot for any less ambitious thriller. This is in the first half an hour,  Hunt still has to clear his name and save the day.

OK You are safe now read on.

We race through three more countries and more than a handful of tense deceptions blended seamlessly with action sequences.

This is a much leaner Mission Impossible that sees Hunt surrounded by an unusually inexperienced and self doubting team of agents. It seems to be a sort of a reboot; not only for the series but for Hunt’s character. He is a little less perfect and cheesy and a little more human and funny.

From the beginning Bird brings us closer to the 1960’s television series than in the previous three instalments as the credits follow the burning fuse through an edited but unrevealing version of the plot.

I’m much more than a poster.

Paula Patton who plays fellow agent Jane Carter, may be the weakest link in the movie but still manages to brighten up every scene she is in, especially when wearing that tailor made green ball-gown from Costume Designer Michael Kaplan.

The other two thirds of the team are made up by Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner who bounce Tom cruise off the screen and are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee on steroids while packing guns and gadgets.

The gadgets again are sufficiently outlandish but Bird is not afraid to poke fun here. He doesn’t clutter he plot with them balancing high-technology and old fashioned chases where every vehicle in the vicinity does not have to be torn in two or set alight.

Do not get me wrong, it still remains a Mission Impossible movie and you will be suspending your disbelief on many an occasion but this time you may actually enjoy it a little more… that is, of course, if you chose to watch it.

This review will not self destruct in five seconds.