On the run from evil robots bent on destruction, a kid travels into the future to set things right. It’s a nifty little tale about the power of dreams and aspiring for a world that’s better than the current one– a Disney movie with a positive message, great characters, and some fairly stunning visuals.

It’s called Meet the Robinsons, and it’s perhaps the Mouse House’s most underrated animated movie ever.

Now we get the live-action Tomorrowland— another movie about a kid traveling into the future to set things right, on the run from robots, etc. Again, there’s a positive message and some fairly stunning visuals. But that’s where the comparison ends.

Where Meet the Robinsons was clever, inventive, and fun, Tomorrowland is little more than a preachy and uneven advertisement for what I’m sure will be a new DisneyWorld attraction in no time.

It’s a rare misfire for Disney, particularly given the talent involved. Director and co-writer Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) teams with Lost creator Damon Lindelof and a cast including George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw, and Under the Dome’s Britt Robertson. Plenty of potential there, right? Oops.

The special effects team are the only folks who will emerge unscathed; they give us a fantastic glimpse into the world (that may be) on its way, including some crazy, open-bottom, multi-level swimming pools and super-fast people movers. But the eye candy portion only lasts for a good ten minutes, and then we’re left with a scattered story heavy on the sermonizing.

Tomorrowland simply dwells too much on trying to hammer home its message that we’re all headed for certain doom (famine, overpopulation, and global warming) unless the young people of the world unite to form a creative, thoughtful cadre of invention and innovation to save the planet.

It’s a noble idea, sure, and if it inspires some kid somewhere to design something that cuts down on greenhouse gasses, well, hey– great. But I can’t imagine too many people over the age of 14 sitting through all of Tomorrowland without at least a little eye-rolling. And the adults will no-doubt find themselves badgered into a trip to Orlando before they know what hit them.

Just save yourself the trouble (and your wallet), and watch Meet the Robinsons instead.

2/5 stars