Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tomorrowland Adoption Movie Review

A school-aged inventor named Frank believes he has created a functioning hovercraft. Although his invention flops at the World’s Fair, he gains the attention of Athena, who recruits him to what, initially, seems to be a wonderful, new, secret world. Years later, Frank has been cast out from that world and is a bitter old man. He is surprised when Casey arrives, sent to him by Athena. We learn quickly that the world that had seemed to be so wonderful isn’t quite what it seemed – but is it possible to make the world what it ought to have been all along?

 The Adoption Connection

Frank and Casey seem to have become a team; it’s not an adoption story, but they do seem to form a sense of family through circumstance and shared experience. In this way, Tomorrowland reminds me of the relationship between the title characters in the delightful animated film Ernest and Celestine – which by the way, I’d recommend, perhaps in lieu of this one, especially for younger viewers.

One character expresses, “Even the tiniest of actions can change the future.” That rings true of life in general, but perhaps especially true of adoption.

Strong Points

Tomorrowland encourages optimism. Casey notes that her father is discouraged. She shares a story with him, “There are two wolves fighting. Light and Hope against Darkness and Despair. Which one wins?” The answer is, “The one you feed.”

Tomorrowland also encourages viewers to take responsibility for the world, “Sure it’s bad; but what are we doing to fix it?” Teenagers and adults, especially, might find this movie to be a helpful challenge to take control of circumstances in their own lives that may have seemed hopeless.


Frank asks Casey whether she would want to know the date of her death in advance, if she could. It’s an interesting and common question, but I could see it being hard for some kids who might find themselves later thinking about death without remembering why.

In one scene, Casey is in a bathtub with Frank. They’re fully clothed, but it could be a hard scene for kids who have been sexually abused, especially in bathrooms.

Weak Points

Several scenes of violence by children, attempted violence against children, and attempted (and perhaps successful) child abductions might be traumatizing to unexpecting younger viewers. We see robots (that look very much like humans) be killed in violent manners - for instance, Casey attempts to kill one of them by hitting him in the face with a baseball bat nearly two dozen times. She does succeed in disfiguring his face. Another girl rips the heads off two other androids. Frank and two girls kill androids by electrocuting one, dicing another into pieces with a laser, and stabbing one in the heart. Another has an arm chopped off. A real human is crushed to death. A little girl is unexpectedly crushed by a speeding car. Police officers are killed on screen (melted into ooze). A dog appears to charge at Casey. Two of the protagonists are shot on screen, and one of them dies. Sensitive kids might also be disturbed by the large amount of loud screaming in the movie.


This isn’t really a movie for kids. Tomorrowland is at times dreamlike, as we see Frank take joyful flight with his jetpack. Other times, it’s surprisingly violent, especially for a Disney film. While there is some positive encouragement to be taken from the film, the unexpectedly high content of violence makes it best suited to kids age 15 and up and it might even be better suited to an adult audience. For younger kids, a film like Ernest and Celestine also features a rocky relationship which improves over time, but it does so in a gentler fashion.

Questions for Discussion

This film highlights that the future can be scary. What scares you?

What do you imagine the future will be like, in terms of technology – and in terms of your life? (This 
might be an especially fun one to dream about with your kids!)

Casey’s story helped her dad choose to be hopeful. What stories have been helpful to you?

What do you think about self-fulfilling prophecies? Do our attitudes and expectations determine our outcomes, or can outcomes be influenced by our actions?

How would you change the world, if you could?

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