This is a big handsome action-packed bundle of PG-rated entertainment with an upbeat ending. Part of the pleasure is who's involved, just look at the credits: Disney Studios; Brad Bird (Pixar's premier writer/director); George Clooney (everyone's favorite heartthrob), Hugh Laurie (one of the UK's finest actors); along with Tim McGraw (ask any Country/Western fan) as a classic dad.
This epic battle is not just between good and evil, but between optimism and pessimism. It incorporates many physical battles, high-tech weapons. space flight and blowie uppie stuff, but it works best when two capable girls are giving George Clooney a hard time for his bad attitude.
We begin with an enthusiastic boy whose jet pack doesn't "quite" work but is "recruited" by a little girl who tells him he is "different." He never looks back.
- * Thomas Robinson ("The Switch") as Young Frank Walker, the dauntless little boy with the jet pack. He meets Athena at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. (An amazing set piece by the way!)
- * Raffey Cassidy ("Mr. Selfridge") is Athena, who entices our young hero into the adventure of a lifetime.
- * Hugh Laurie ("House") Nix is going back "home" after the World's Fair. He has plans...
- * Britt Robertson ("The Longest Ride") is Casey Newton, who has serious objections when her school teachers preach gloom and doom for the planet. She finds a mysterious coin that flips her into another world when she touches it.
- * Tim McGraw ("The Blind Side") is her father Eddie Newton, a space engineer who is resigned to being downsized.
- * George Clooney ("Gravity") is Grown-up Frank; this pessimistic curmudgeon just wants Casey to leave him alone. Wait until you see his house!
- * Kathryn Hahn and Keegan-Michael Key are the proprietors of a novelty shop where Casey tries to buy another one of those mysterious coins.
We enjoyed the humor throughout, the dazzling scenery and the high-tech gadgets, but we most particularly enjoyed the humans, their relationships and their challenges.
Warning: You will be on that ride and hear that annoying ear worm "It's a Small World, After All
." Be advised! (...Now don't start!)