Tomorrowland: A World Beyond – My Review

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A few days before it was released in UK cinemas nationwide, I was invited to Disney’s FDA Multimedia Screening of the hotly anticipated Tomorrowland: A World Beyond, in London’s Leicester Square Empire IMAX!

If you haven’t heard of this film yet, you must have been stuck under a rock somewhere. Not only is it brimming with star quality performances but it’s got amazing special effects, the creative design of the future world is super cool and most importantly, this film carries a couple of very important messages. I’m just not too sure it’s going to be powerful enough to reach everyone…

Photos from Tomorrowland 2

When I arrived, I was greeted by a red carpet and hordes of fans packed around the cinemas entrance. Bemused, I double checked my ticket to make sure I’d gotten the correct venue and indeed the correct day… but I hadn’t been mistaken. I knew it couldn’t have been the Tomorrowland European premiere as this had already taken place the previous Sunday, so I decided to wait around… to see who went in, of course! A couple of glammed up women went in first, who unfortunately I didn’t recognise (sorry!) but then I spotted motorbike enthusiast, world explorer and presenter of the Long Way Round programmes, Charley Boorman. My family and I are huge fans and thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the crazy adventures he’s been on with Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, so that was quite cool to see him. 

And then I could hear a cluster of cheers and screams to my left. Randomly (or so I originally thought) it was Baywatch and Knight Rider actor, David Hasselhoff shuffling down the red carpet. It looked like he was really taking the time to stop and talk to as many people as he possibly could, which was nice to see. I thought at first that maybe he might have had a cameo role in some sort of futuristic getup but alas, this was not the case. I have only recently found out that he was actually there for the premiere of his own TV show, Hoff The Record, which airs on Dave later this month. 

Photos from Tomorrowland 1

But anywho, back to the film I’m actually reviewing! I went in and nabbed the best possible seat that would provide me with the greatest experience. But before the film began, we were treated to two exclusive new trailers for Marvel’s Ant Man (due to hit UK cinemas 17th July) and the one that everyone’s been raving about, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (due to hit UK cinemas 18th December). Don’t hate me, but I wasn’t that fussed by either of them – that said, I’d still like to see Ant Man just incase the trailers haven’t been doing the film justice.

So without giving away too many spoilers, this film begins with a really detailed flash back to Disney’s 1964 Tomorrowland; a recreation of the original Tomorrowland found in Walt Disney World Florida’s Magic Kingdom, which opened back in 1955. This is where we meet young Frank Walker (played by 12-year-old Thomas Robinson) and his awesome gadget, that he wishes to submit for the New York World Fair. From this point onwards you are treated to an action-packed two-hour special-effect extravaganza, with inspiring designs of what a futuristic world could look like (as you’d expect, with jet packs and the like), and, yet more unfortunately, quite a bit of sciencey tech-like jargon – some of which flew right over my head!

One of the things I loved, and it’s a pretty simple one really, is that they designed Tomorrowland to look like a futuristic, space-aged Cinderella’s castle! Another concept of the film that I liked and was fairly comical, were the robots that were constantly chasing George Clooney (aka older Frank), Britt Robertson (who plays Casey Newton) and Raffey Cassidy (who at the young age of 12, gives a stellar performance as Athena), in an attempt to stop the trio from reaching Tomorrowland… they of course failed!

Hugh Laurie, Brit Robertson, Raffey Cassidy and George Clooney attend the European premiere of Disney's “Tomorrowland: A World Beyond” in Leicester Square on May 17, 2015 in London, UK
Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy and George Clooney at the European premiere.

One of the things I most liked about the film, is the constant underlying messages that are subconsciously emphasised throughout, telling us (mostly) that we need to look after our planet, as it’s not going to last forever the way it’s currently being used. Young Frank Walker says wisely during his (unfortunately unsuccessful) World Fair pitch, something along the lines of “Inspiring people makes the world a better place. I’d feel anything’s possible if I saw people flying with a jet pack over me” and I felt that it was a great way to show kids to be optimistic, believing that they can achieve anything if they put their mind, and heart, into it. But I think the character who was given the most poignant messages to deliver was Hugh Laurie’s character, as towards the end he (in my opinion) spoke some home truths that some people prefer not to accept or even acknowledge. He was explaining how we as a human race create so many fictional books and films that feature the “end of the world theme” but even then, we fail to realise that this is a very possible future for our planet and not just fantasy. As he references in the film we are shown so many warning signs, such as the glaciers and ice caps melting, species becoming extinct, the changes in the climate, drought etc, but we continue to turn a blind eye. We see it as the future is far in the future… as if there’s nothing we can do about it now. There’s everything we can do about it now! A very poignant line that resonated with me is “how is it possible that we have an obesity crisis and starving people around the world at the same time?!” And I quite frankly (pardon the pun) couldn’t agree more! It’s the same with poverty and people without money, yet we have football players receiving an obscene amount of money to play a game?! Consider my mind well and truly boggled.

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I’d say the only downside (which of course I’d need to watch again for verification), is that I think I spotted a continuity error in the film. If you don’t want to know any spoilers before you see it, then stop reading… right now… stop! But, in the famous scene regularly featured in the official Tomorrowland trailers, where Franks house is under attack by the crazy cyborgs we see Frank clamber into the bath tub first to sit on the left and Casey squeeze in after him, now sitting/laying squished in the tub on the right. However, after the bath tub/capsule/newly-formed-rocket-ship is catapulted from the house, it lands in the river. As the roof comes off, we see Frank climb out of the bath from the righthand side and Casey is lying in the left side of the now-boat. They’d somehow managed to switch sides in the space of 30 seconds… and in the small confinement of a one person bath tub!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my review and I’d just like to leave you with this last thought, as I feel that we really need to ask ourselves this every now and again – “What if there is a place; a secret place where nothing is impossible. A miraculous place where you could actually change the world. You’d wanna go?”. Think about it… I mean really think about it. Don’t you feel like this place is now? As we have the ability to change the future of the world. Right here. Right now. So what are you going to choose?

Images: Tomorrowland logo – staytuned.co.in/; Main cast at European premiere in London’s Odeon Leicester Square 17/05/15 – theupcoming.co.uk/; All others – my own.

The Theory of Everything – My Review

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So today, after waiting 10 days since premiering in the UK on the 1st January, I (along with a fully booked screening) found out about the legendary Stephen Hawking’s early years through the BAFTA nominated, critically acclaimed wonder that is The Theory of Everything.

I must say, if you haven’t heard of this film yet… where the heck have you been?!?! I saw the first official trailer back in August and it gave me goosebumps. Not only was I drawn to this film because of lead actor, Eddie Redmayne (who played Marius in Les Miserables – one of my all time favourite musicals), but I soon realised that I didn’t really know that much about Professor Hawking aside from him being one of the greatest minds on the planet… and of course his brief (but pure gold) cameo’s on The Big Bang Theory.

If I was asked to sum up this film in one word, it would actually be impossible to do so. It is quite simply phenomenal and one of the greatest films I’ve seen in a very long time (and I’m quite lucky in that I get to attend press screenings on a fairly regular basis). Based on his loving ex-wife’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, this film allows its audience to get a genuine, no holds barred insight into the struggles this inspirational couple have gone through. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but these two are the definition of true fighters!

It was recently revealed that The Theory of Everything has been nominated for TEN BAFTAs, and rightly so! Both Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones’ performance in portraying this incredible story is absolutely outstanding, and in my mind, if they don’t bag the BAFTAs they so clearly deserve then the judges obviously haven’t seen the film for themselves!

I was advised by a friend, who’d seen it a few days ago, to be armed with tissues. But, surprisingly even to myself, I have to admit I only found myself glassy eyed and choked up a handful of times. I believe that a tear did not actually fall because with the majority of the sad parts, some light and unexpected humour were short to follow. He proved that even in the darkest of times, he could find something for people to smile about.

When I’d seen the trailer all those months ago, I knew it would be the biggest film of 2015. But having seen (and thoroughly enjoyed) Into the Woods back in December, I thought I may have been too presumptuous. Until today. This film will go down in history as one of the greatest, true life stories ever to be made and I’m so pleased to have seen it.

Be sure to catch it in cinemas as soon as possible… you can’t miss out on watching such an epic on the big screen!

From Here To Eternity Review

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On the 3rd July something spectacular is going to take over a cinema near you… so be prepared for a musical like no other! Welcome to From Here To Eternity!

Based on the classic James Jones’ novel of the same name, From Here To Eternity takes you back to the year 1941, where many people believed that the safest place to be, furthest away from the already raging war in Europe, was Hawaii. Following an American military base in the lead up to the attacks on Pearl Harbour, we are not only invited into the lives of the G Company soldiers, but more intimately four individuals, who ultimately fall in love with people they really shouldn’t have!

It kicks of with a malihini, which is the Hawaiian term for an island newcomer, named Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt (played by Robert Lonsdale), who we learn is not your average soldier. For me, he stood out the most, not because he is effectively the lead male, but because of his absolutely phenomenal vocals! I am a huge West End theatre geek and I knew, as soon as I heard ‘Fight The Fight‘, that I needed the soundtrack to this musical in my life. I just have to find out where I can get my hands on it now…

Siubhan Harrison, who in my eyes plays the lead female, compliments Roberts vocals beautifully in her portrayal of Lorene, a kind-hearted woman caught in an unescapable situation. Another cast member who I feel also deserves a mention is Ryan Sampson, whose character Private Angelo Maggio, provides the majority of the comedy – it would certainly have been a different musical without him!

The staging was great as well, as you weren’t focused on the set changes one bit, so without realising, you’d seamlessly entered new rooms and scenes! There were also fantastic slow motion scenes throughout, which the incredible cast made look like a piece of cake… although I’m sure it’s far from it!

Even though this isn’t your typical “feel-good” musical filled with daisies and sunshine, it certainly leaves you thinking about what these men had to go through, especially in relation to the recent 70th Anniversary of D-Day. I left this special cast and crew screening wanting to meet and thank the brave soldiers (both survived and passed) for the sacrifices they’d made in order for us to have the world we do today.

Tim Rice’s incredibly timeless musical is set to play in over 250 cinemas across the UK and Ireland. I highly recommend catching this film, especially if possible at a Cineworld as you’ll be given the opportunity to purchase the glossy programme as if you were at the theatre – I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed as it’s packed full of history, exclusive interviews and amazing photography! I must admit, halfway through the show I was so drawn in that I’d completely forgotten I was in a cinema screening, as opposed to a theatre! Don’t get me wrong though, I LOVE West End theatre like there’s no tomorrow, so I’d never want it to be replaced, but it did leave me with this thought – “welcome to the future of affordable musical theatre for all to enjoy”…

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Watch the theatrical trailer here!

NB: words not written or at all edited by a third party – these are my own views and opinions, no one else’s.

Tell us your story

#145: Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.

I haven’t been on an interesting journey recently… I was going to write about my journey into London today (for a preview screening that has to be kept secret until it’s release and of course, my favourite, a wedge of Choccywoccydoodah cake!), but it’s really not that exciting at all!

Instead, I’ll write about a few physical trips I’d really like to take in my lifetime. So, I’d love a road trip around America visiting tonnes of theme parks – especially Disney related ones, various Six Flags and at least one US Legoland (just to see the difference). I’d love a trip that allows me to see wild animals in their natural environments – (in no particular order) orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, elephants, dolphins, turtles, etc. Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include Egypt – Tutankhamun’s tomb, Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, Temple of Karnak etc etc.

So many trips, so little funds!