Inciting Event: Frank arrives in Tomorrowland, as a child. This whole opening section is essentially a prologue. It’s clever in that it neatly frames the story by introducing the most important setting (which won’t be visited again until after the Second Pinch Point) and the important character Frank (who won’t show up again until the Midpoint). Introducing and foreshadowing important elements like this is one of the First Act’s most important jobs, since this is the foundation for the entire story to come.

However, it’s also worth noting that this prologue-esque technique is also more than a little clumsy, both for all the usual reasons prologues are often clumsy, and also because it delays the true start of the story with its true protagonist (Casey) for a relatively long while. The filmmakers try to get around this issue by having at least Casey’s voice present from the very first scene, but this is still a gambit of questionable success and one only to be played with caution.

First Plot Point: After getting thrown into jail for tampering with NASA equipment, Casey discovers the Tomorrowland pin planted among her belongings and picks it up for the first time. When she does, her world disappears and she sees and interacts with Tomorrowland. Her dad, understandably, thinks she’s on drugs. Even though Casey won’t leave her actual, physical world until much later in the movie, this is a great use of symbolism to show her changing mindset. When her world changes upon her discovery of Tomorrowland’s existence (even though she doesn’t know that’s what it is yet), the movie uses her apparent visit to Tomorrowland to symbolize her leaving the Normal World of the First Act and entering the “adventure world” of the Second.

First Pinch Point: Casey takes the pin to a shop in Houston, looking for information about it. The shop owners tell her new facts about the pin—and then reveal themselves to be antagonistic robots. They try to kill Casey to get the pin, but she is saved by the robot Athena, who was the one to secretly give Casey the pin the first place. This is a great Pinch Point. It fulfills all the major requirements: provides a clear turning point in the First Half of the Second Act, offers new clues about the conflict and the antagonistic force, and emphasizes the stakes through danger.

Midpoint: Casey meets a much older, much grumpier Frank, who reluctantly tells her the truth about the conflict: something he created in Tomorrowland is going to cause something terrible to happen. But then it turns out that Casey has the unwitting power to ever so slightly lessen the odds of that terrible something. This is the all-important Midpoint revelation—for both Casey and Frank. On its heels follows an all-out attack on Frank’s house by robots, which forces Casey and Frank to flee. They’re now headed directly toward the conflict—toward Tomorrowland.

Second Pinch Point: Still dogged by the robots (French ones this time), Frank, Casey, and Athena use the rocket hidden in the Eiffel Tower to travel to Tomorrowland—where they are promptly arrested by Governor Nix. This is a complex Pinch Point. The major turning point here is obviously the characters’ arrival in Tomorrowland, which, as the accomplishment of their goal, is objectively a good thing. But the filmmakers turn it into an emphasis of the antagonist’s power, both through the robots’ pursuit and through the introduction of the antagonist himself and his flexing of his power against the protagonists.

Third Plot Point: Nix and Frank show Casey the Monitor—which revals to her that the “terrible something” is the end of the world in fifty-eight days. In itself, this isn’t the best Third Plot Point ever. Although it introduces specific new clues, it doesn’t tell the viewers anything they didn’t essentially already know. And although the end of the world is certainly personal (made more so by showing Casey’s own trashed house in the future), it’s not deeply personal to the character in the moment (fifty-eight days is a really long ways away from the needs of the moment). Still, it does a nice job symbolizing death, and Casey definitely gives off the necessary vibe of despair.

Climax: After Casey figures out that the Monitor will actually be the cause of the future disaster, Frank attacks Nix so Casey can go blow up the Monitor. The Climax is arguably the weakest part of this movie. It wobbles around a bit and even comes to a (however momentary) dead stop when Nix and Frank are stranded in another dimension and just stop fighting. It also doesn’t do a great job of limiting the setting. The characters move around with quite a bit of freedom from set to set. It’s not terrible, but it could have been a lot tighter.

Climactic Moment: After being fatally shot by Nix (and after Casey loses the bomb), Athena has Frank drop her on the Monitor, using her self-destruct mechanism to destroy it.

Resolution: Frank and Casey re-establish Tomorrowland and start recruiting new “dreamers” to ensure the future.

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