Tomorrowland Hopes vs. Poltergeist Fears Unfold Memorial Day Weekend

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Movie buffs have a hard decision ahead of them this Memorial Day weekend. The hopes and fears of two directors, Brad Bird and Gil Kenan are riding on their movies, Tomorrowland and Poltergeist respectively, as they expected their movies to rake in the most moolah this Memorial Day weekend. Viewers thought they faced a tough choice as they had to decide between the sci-fi epic Tomorrowland or the reboot of the 1982 horror film, Poltergeist, but the reviews are in and both movies do not seem worth the wait.

Disney’s Tomorrowland is being hailed the clear favorite in the Memorial Day weekend race as it stars some major bigwigs involved in its success. It is directed by two-time Oscar winning director Bird and stars George Clooney, accompanied by Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie and Judy Greer. The trailers showed a rebellious Robertson camping on Clooney’s doorstep followed by a fight scene with mysterious robotic people. The special effects looked good and the fight scene was impressive, but nothing about the story was really given away. Then the reviews started coming in, right before its Memorial Day weekend release.

The movie is about a gifted teenager and a former boy-genius who travel to Tomorrowland, a futuristic place where individual actions directly affect the world. Rotten Tomatoes called it ambitious and visually stunning, both traits which were visible from he trailers and the only positive about the movie. They said that the movie was “unfortunately weighted down” by bad storytelling. Even Variety called it a hollow subterfuge after a good and intriguing build up. While the film-making was praised and the effects lauded, the movie fell short in the eyes of the critics. Criticism of Tomorrowland was not limited to only movie connoisseurs, YouTubers also agreed.

Jeremy Jahns, a well known movie reviewer, vlogger and one of the founders of the YOUreviewers Movie Awards, says that the vague trailers did not reveal anything and made him feel like he was in “no man’s land,” but he corrects himself and says that better yet, he was in Tomorrowland.

Jahns says that he was unable to figure out the plot until he was far into the movie, but said that the movie suffers from “human nature.” He says that the movie is about getting to Tomorrowland and not about the actual place. The message of the movie was also pretty vague and previously heard in the past few decades, he said.

Poltergeist, the other movie competing with Tomorrowland, is also expected to do well this Memorial Day weekend. It is a contemporary remake of the Steven Spielberg classic about the youngest daughter of a suburban family being held captive by a poltergeist. Produced by legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi of the Evil Dead and The Grudge fame, Poltergeist stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Sam Rockwell and Kyle Catlett. The youngest daughter is portrayed by Kennedi Clements, who also starred in the 2014 movie Jingle All the Way 2. Even fans of the original movie did not like the movie as it got bad reviews right out of the gate.

Variety called the movie entertaining yet fundamentally unnecessary. They said that the remake has not improved on any of the original’s themes. Alonso Durande, movie critic at The Wrap said that the wrong choices far outnumber the good ones in this movie as there was no build-up to the creepy house in a normal neighborhood. Sketchy and poorly executed characters, further bog down the movie as it was evident to him that it was a run-of-the-mill, pipsqueak remake of the classic, according to the website.

IGN, an entertainment review company with nearly 6 million YouTube subscribers, reviewed Poltergeist and said that setup of the original film has been mostly neglected by the new movie. Their review echoed most of Durande’s feelings.

Lucy O’Brien reviewed the movie for the IGN channel and remarked that things start happening too soon into the movie. She says that the directors could have experimented with modern-day electronic items and gadgetry, but they stick to things seen in the original Poltergeist. She says that the movie loses out also on the story aspect as the family seems almost blasé about the fact that the daughter is caught in a world behind a television screen. The movie does have good points as the director excels at short, sharp jump scares, adds O’Brien

After such fearful reviews, Tomorrowland is still hopeful of raking in $49 million and Poltergeist, $25 million on this Memorial Day Weekend. The revenues of the movies might see a dip in the following week, once word-of-mouth publicity starts.

By Anugya Chitransh


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Rotten Tomatoes (1): Tomorrowland

Rotten Tomatoes (2): Poltergeist

Photo Courtesy of erin m’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License