The future was better in the 1960s, at least in the popular imagination. We were going to get jetpacks and flying cars and robots and interplanetary travel. We’re too cynical for that now, though we do have a nice variety of dystopias to look forward to.
Britt Robertson play Casey Newton (Casey is sort of like Isaac spelled backwards), a high school student with a love of science and engineering. She gets arrested briefly for a bit of direct action trying to stop the disassembly of a NASA launchpad, and when she’s released from jail she finds among her belongings a small lapel pin that, when touched, seemingly transports her to a mysterious city of the future.
Fascinated, she tries to find someone who can take her there for real, and she winds up on the doorstep of George Clooney, who discovered the place when he attended the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. It turns out you could get there from the It’s a Small World ride, so you’d think they’d be off to Disneyland, but there are problems, including human-looking robots out to get them for reasons that are never entirely clear.
Meanwhile there’s a mysterious little girl (Raffey Cassidy) and a fellow who seems to be her father or guardian or employer, played by Hugh Laurie (best known to American audiences as the start of House MD). Neither of them ages and both are British.
The cast is excellent and there are a host of exhilarating scenes that stimulate one’s sense of wonder. Unfortunately there are also a lot of flaws. Some reviewers liked it and some didn’t, and I agree with both sides, except for one thing: Lots of critics complained about the ending, but I rather liked it.