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  1. #1
    Attebery's Avatar
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    Default 'Tomorrowland' - High-Def Digest Review

    Shannon has reviewed 'Tomorrowland'. He says this is ultimately a failure, but it fails in big and glorious ways, so it's still worth a look. Here's why...

    http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/25440/tomorrowland.html
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    "I feel it's my duty to report that Damon Lindelof shares a screenplay credit here with Director Brad Bird, and while it's unfair to state without hard evidence the source of 'Tomorrowland's weaker story elements, let's just say Lindelof doesn't have a very good track record in his post-Lost career and leave things at that."

    Lindelof should never be allowed to work in Hollywood, at least on big budget films. He's a disaster AND I liked this movie. The potential was there to make a great movie IMO. I still had some fun with it. Clooney and the girl make a nice team. The audio and picture quality were really good I thought.

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    I thought this was a pretty great flick, a lot better than age of ultron and jurassic world.

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    Can well all just agree, at this point, that the magic of Lost was not Lindelof, but J.J. Abrahams? He is the only name attached to Lost that has seen any success beyond that show, from Fringe to Star Trek. Hell, they gave the dude Star Wars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJScorpio View Post
    Can well all just agree, at this point, that the magic of Lost was not Lindelof, but J.J. Abrahams? He is the only name attached to Lost that has seen any success beyond that show, from Fringe to Star Trek. Hell, they gave the dude Star Wars.
    J.J. Abrams had little involvement with LOST beyond the pilot (which he directed and co-wrote). Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were the co-showrunners for most of the series.

    I am convinced -- and have been for many years -- that most of the good things about LOST can be credited to Cuse. I also firmly believe any other idea that wasn't completely idiotic and didn't come from Cuse was the work of literally anyone else involved with the show who isn't named Damon Lindelof.

    Cuse followed up LOST with Bates Motel, a show far less terrible than anything Lindelof has had his name attached to since LOST ended.

    We can all agree: Damon sucks. Most will also say that Carlton doesn't. At the very least, they'll agree he at least sucks less than his former co-worker.*

    *Cuse is a producer and an occasionally credited writer of The Strain, which is usually Lindelof-level sucky. Still, his track record is much better than Lindelof's.
    "Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times?"

  6. #6
    Josh Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super-VHS View Post
    *Cuse is a producer and an occasionally credited writer of The Strain, which is usually Lindelof-level sucky. Still, his track record is much better than Lindelof's.
    I was about to post this in rebuttal to you. At one point, I may have been inclined to believe the "Cuse was the genius of the pair" theory, but The Strain pretty much completely negates it. That show is awful. And Cuse is not just a producer. He's the show-runner. Every decision gets filtered through him.

    What I find much more likely is that Lindelof and Cuse only really work well as a team, where each one's strengths counterbalance out the other's weaknesses.

    That said, I do like Bates Motel. But it's not on the same level as Lost (say what you will about the final season).
    Josh Z
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJScorpio View Post
    Can well all just agree, at this point, that the magic of Lost was not Lindelof, but J.J. Abrahams? He is the only name attached to Lost that has seen any success beyond that show, from Fringe to Star Trek. Hell, they gave the dude Star Wars.
    Carlton Cuse, who was an executive-producer and writer for LOST, has had success post-LOST with Bates Motel, The Strain, and San Andreas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
    I was about to post this in rebuttal to you. At one point, I may have been inclined to believe the "Cuse was the genius of the pair" theory, but The Strain pretty much completely negates it. That show is awful. And Cuse is not just a producer. He's the show-runner. Every decision gets filtered through him.
    Don't forget Chuck Hogan. Cuse came aboard The Strain as showrunner because Hogan was untested and the network wouldn't let a newbie run a tentpole show by himself.

    Cuse and Hogan can share equal blame. Hogan is co-author/creator/head writer, meaning he fostered and filtered a lot of those bad ideas out of the writer's room and onto the page. Cuse pushed the bad ideas the rest of the way through production. And to be absolutely fair, let's also blame Guillermo del Toro, because the source material isn't particularly good to begin with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
    What I find much more likely is that Lindelof and Cuse only really work well as a team, where each one's strengths counterbalance out the other's weaknesses.
    Perhaps. Lindelof comes off as such a smug asshole in everything I've head him on/seen him in that I assume he's the untalented, difficult one by default.

    Lindelof's biggest problems are not necessarily his ideas, but in the execution of them. Most things he does seem only partially developed. Maybe Cuse, as a more seasoned veteran in the business, was able to guide and nurture any of Lindelof's really great ideas for LOST the rest of the way. And let's not forget, LOST had a lot of good writers on staff. Really, it had a talented crew all around, with full support from the network to go places most series wouldn't (and still don't) on broadcast TV. LOST was special, and pretty much the best work of all involved.

    Lindelof's downfall might also be his inability to work well with others, doubled by having the misfortune of signing on to some very troubled productions, post-LOST.

    Prometheus is as shitty as it is because -- at least in part -- Lindelof and the original writer couldn't get along. And if you compare the various drafts of that screenplay, it almost seems like Lindelof purposefully made things worse. Moments that completely worked/made sense in the original stages became the dumbest things in the final film. The original writer's audio commentary is hilariously bitter.

    World War Z was a mess from beginning to end, at all stages of production, and its faults are not exclusively the product of Lindelof.

    Tomorrowland's failure (perhaps too harsh as I think it's an okay film, imperfect though it is) is a result of Disney's own issues and the cracks in their corporate culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
    That said, I do like Bates Motel. But it's not on the same level as Lost (say what you will about the final season).
    I have mostly good things to say about LOST's final season. I liked it. And I'm also of the opinion that most people who didn't like the final episodes were watching the show wrong from the beginning.

    And I like Bates Motel too. Cuse is still very much involved with Bates Motel, and it's the better of his two series by far. Of course, that's not particularly surprising. Unlike The Strain, Bates has a solid foundation.
    "Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times?"

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    In some ways, I think Tomorrowland is this year's John Carter or Lone Ranger: better than most give it credit for, and a film that didn't deserve to bomb as hard as it did. (Like those other two, the conspiracy theorist in me also wonders if Disney intentionally set the film up for failure, to both reign in a director and cushion their books at the same time.)

    The film's reputation precedes itself, thus viewers went into it with baggage (some people are predestined to hate anything with Damon Lindelof's name in the credits), and I think plenty were put off by Tomorrowland not being what they expected (poor advertising) and then failed to see it (and critique it) for what it actually was.

    Quote Originally Posted by HDD Review
    Animated Short: The Origins of Plus Ultra (HD, 3 min.) This animated short provides the background of the group that got together to build 'Tomorrowland'. Viewers also are given the option to view this short immediately before the feature presentation.
    Fantastic. The short (which was animated by Pixar!) is great, and I was sad to learn it had been cut from the finished film. Glad it's now back, and can (optionally) be viewed as the primer it was originally intended to be.

    For those who haven't seen the short yet, here's the nifty retro-styled sequence:



    Tomorrowland... "Every July, peas grow there."

    Quote Originally Posted by HDD Review
    Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions (HD, 23 min.) A collection of six deleted scenes, which can be watched together or individually, and consisting of 'Joking on the Eiffel Tower' (2 min.); 'Young Casey vs. The Volcano' (3 min.); 'Doomsday Living Room' (3 min.); 'As Originally Written Casey the Downer' (7 min.); 'What Happened to Tomorrowland?' (3 min.); and 'What is Tomorrowland?' (4 min.).
    Care to expand on these, Shannon?

    More specifically, do the deleted scenes contain the Walt Disney scenes/references removed from the final cut?

    I've been hoping some (or all) of the Disney scenes would make their way on to the disc. Even if Bird and co. (and most importantly, the studio, apparently) don't think so, everything I've read about the deleted Walt material makes it sound like removing the character and more explicit Disney references from the film was a mistake.

    I understand Walt Disney (and mention of him) was deleted to keep the film form feeling "too meta", but had he/they remained a more prominent feature, I think the film would've been a lot more fun. And then, instead of seeming like a (tonally inconsistent) "kids movie", the extra dose of nostalgia might've turned Tomorrowland into the kind of movie that makes viewers feel like kids again, and the "preachy" message, optimism, and elements of whimsical fantasy wouldn't have been so... off-putting, I guess?
    "Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Super-VHS View Post
    Fantastic. The short (which was animated by Pixar!) is great, and I was sad to learn it had been cut from the finished film. Glad it's now back, and can (optionally) be viewed as the primer it was originally intended to be.

    For those who haven't seen the short yet, here's the nifty retro-styled sequence:

    Spoiler:
    That was a cool short. I like that it is now an option included
    in the blu-ray. I like to add, I almost didn't watch it. The
    name, Plus Ultra, that could be reworked. I wondered if I
    really wanted to watch the origin of extra strong & soft tissue
    paper. I kept thinking of Puffs Ultra.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super-VHS View Post
    J.J. Abrams had little involvement with LOST beyond the pilot (which he directed and co-wrote). Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were the co-showrunners for most of the series.
    Frankly, the best part of LOST was the Pilot. The initial concept, and the way it drew you in immediately. There are a few points one could pick out in the series where the it started to buckle under its own weight, but really, it was a gradual decline from the Pilot episode.

    So I stand my by statement.

    *EDIT: This is not to say that the show didn't have fantastic moments, but look at many other series out there. More often than not, the pilot episode is the weakest episode, with raw versions of characters you have already grown to love. You feel like you are watching a different, strange show. With LOST, the Pilot was perfect. It had perfectly defined characters that set the tone for the rest of the series. It is as if the writers were given the perfect setup, and the ran with it.

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    I haven't cracked open this case yet (will probably do so this week), but, as much as I want to see the Origin short, I would recommend people who haven't seen the movie before to skip it on their first viewing. I think part of the fun on my initial viewing was trying to figure out what the heck Tomorrowland is, and ANY origin piece would probably cause major spoilers.

    I agree with others on this thread - I feel this movie is judged more harshly than it should be. I had a lot of fun with this movie, and it was hands down my favorite movie (so far) of the year. I wish it did better - there is so much material here, that you could have had a lot of fun with a feature-length origin film, a sequel and a prequel. I feel like this movie is this generation's Tron.

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    Have you noticed the differences between the Japanese trailer and the final cut? I'd like to see this version of the film (the one with Disney's connection to the plot, the one that actually uses the word "Tomorrowland").

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y6mwj77E0s

  14. #14
    Josh Z's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super-VHS View Post
    Prometheus is as shitty as it is because -- at least in part -- Lindelof and the original writer couldn't get along. And if you compare the various drafts of that screenplay, it almost seems like Lindelof purposefully made things worse. Moments that completely worked/made sense in the original stages became the dumbest things in the final film. The original writer's audio commentary is hilariously bitter.
    The blame for Prometheus falls squarely on Ridley Scott's shoulders. He brought Lindelof in because he didn't like the Spaihts script. Lindelof wrote what Ridley Scott told him to write.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
    The blame for Prometheus falls squarely on Ridley Scott's shoulders. He brought Lindelof in because he didn't like the Spaihts script. Lindelof wrote what Ridley Scott told him to write.
    Yup. I put that movie's blame completely on Scott's. How he could have chosen Lindelof is beyond me and second, how he could approve that screenplay is surprising, give his experience with the Alien movies prior.

    Hopefully the next movies will be much better.

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