Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Should Have Been Great — So What Went Wrong?


It seems safe to bet that deep inside every filmmaker, there lurks a burning desire to make a movie in the exact style of his or her favorite director. It’s the best way to explain the scores of filmmakers doing mini-Scorsese movies in the ‘90s; young filmmakers of the late ‘90s and early ’00s gave us plenty of junior Woody Allen pictures. And when a certain kind of filmmaker (most likely one who was a kid in the 1980s) gets access to a big budget and a summer berth, they apparently want to make a Spielberg movie. J.J. Abrams did it a few years back with Super 8; Colin Trevorrow is reportedly making his Jurassic World, due next month, less a sequel than a Spielberg homage. And then we have Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, with enough nostalgic golden glow, characters gazing off in a wonder, and John Williams-esque music cues to seem, in spots, like a Spielberg cosplay. Yet Bird seems to have learned the hard way what Abrams did in Super 8: the aesthetics are easy to ape, but one should never underestimate the value Spielberg places on tight, clear, logical storytelling.
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25 Years Later: Imagining the Dark, Depressing ‘Pretty Woman’ That Could Have Been


Twenty-five years ago this week, a small movie starring a has-been and an unknown crept into theaters and unexpectedly took America by storm. The Cinderella story of a Hollywood prostitute and the tycoon who becomes her knight in shining armor, it made Julia Roberts a star, made Richard Gere a star again, and made $463 million worldwide, contributing to the glut of romantic comedies that would populate 1990s cinema. The movie was originally called $3,000, but you might know it by its second, Disney-imposed title, Pretty Woman. And that moniker wasn’t the only thing that changed between the page and the screen; Pretty Woman has become a legendary example of how a movie can come out of the studio, writing-by-committee system bearing very little resemblance to the script it once …Read More