World of Tomorrow
World of Tomorrow
2015. Directed by Don Hertzfeldt.
"Now is the envy of all of the dead."
At 16 minutes, World of Tomorrow is an animated sci-fi film that has more to say than most full length features currently in cinemas.
Little Emily is happily at play when she is contacted by a future clone of herself. Her future clone self then takes Emily on a kaleidoscope odyssey through space and time.
The director recorded his four year old niece at play and then spliced her candid and hilarious statements into the film as responses to the clone. This brings a sense of childhood wonder to a somber tale by highlighting the joy of life, even in the face of certain extinction. I've never experienced a film that can make you smile in one breath and then utterly devastate you in the next, and then do it again, and again, and again.
The animation is done with stick figures and shapes. The colors are vibrant and erratic. The thing that really blew me away was how complex the story was and how simply it was presented.
The film explores life, death, love, and loss in it's short running time and it works in every category. Every bit of dialogue written by Hertzfeldt is titanic. Every word is chosen with such deliberate intent that you find yourself hungry for more bits if wisdom from future Emily and more adorable abandon from little Emily. It uses a science fiction vehicle to remind us that it's the little everyday things that are important, and if you've ever been around a four year old, you know they are extremely proficient at this task.
Nominated for the academy award for best short film, World of Tomorrow is a triumph on many levels. It's uplifting, poignant, and irresistibly human. Emily's journey is a journey of personal growth and reflection, even though she won't know it until she downloads into her future self and thus have the memories of her past encounter...with herself. Time travel is a concept that usually wrecks the film or show that it's used in, but World of Tomorrow does it with perfection.
Available now on Netflix, World of Tomorrow is a truly great film and one of the greatest animated films of all time. If you have a few minutes to spare, this film will lift your spirits and remind you to appreciate the pleasures of the now because in the end, they are what is most important.