I have a distinct memory, it must have been late last May, of seeing the digital movie marquees on the outside of San Francisco’s Metreon complex. I don’t remember exactly what day it was, and the experience at the time was too unremarkable for me to bother capturing in my personal log.
I remember seeing “Tomorrowland, George Clooney” crawling on the marquee and reflexively thinking: another film based on a theme park (ride), likely to be silly and shallow. And in particular, disappointing.
As a child growing up in Southern California, Tomorrowland was my favorite part of Disneyland. So many rides that inspired imagination, and hope for the potential of technology to explore, educate, empower. From Space Mountain to Adventure Thru Inner Space. I also remember slowly becoming disillusioned with Tomorrowland. Rides changed from science hope & curiousity, to science fantasy & entertainment (Star Wars based Star Tours, Captain EO). Exploration fell out of fashion, the Submarine Voyage and Mission to Mars rides were both closed.
I had not even seen a trailer for the Tomorrowland film.
I expected disappointment from something I had no direct experience with, based on what I associated it with, and assumed it would be. I was also extrapolating from other theme-park-ride movies like Pirates of the Carribean.
The difference between a themed “land” and a specific ride didn’t seem important. Little did I know, that difference apparently allowed for sufficient writer(s)/director creativity for the film to be something much more than anything defined by a particular ride.
It would be almost three months before I returned to Tomorrowland.