World of Tomorrow is an animated science fiction short film. This dramatic-comedy follows a little girl, Emily, and a future version of her older self. In her world people are impregnated with a perfect clone of themselves. When they die the clone takes over their life, including their memories. This process is repeated in the hope of living forever. Emily is the original. She gets a message from one of her future clones. They go through the clone’s memories and some aspects of Emily’s future life are revealed.
The film’s 2D style is very simple but still pleasing to the eye. Due to the simplicity of the style, the film-makers can add a lot more to the shot without it looking too crowded. This can be powerful because it leaves space to the imagination and therefore can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the audience. The simple animation creates an almost uncertain atmosphere, where the audience is forced to fill in the blanks.
Film-maker Don Hertzfeldt depended mostly on dialogue to create emotional value. Emily’s future clone tells her, “We mustn’t linger, it is easy to get lost in memories.” This quote is in relation to the characters’ literally being in a memory, and that it would be easy for them to just stay there. However, in real life this quote is still accurate. If you think about things that happened in the past too much it is easy to overthink it and let it consume you. World of Tomorrow’s dialogue is also important because of young Emily’s voice actress, Winona Mae, the niece of the creator. She was recorded while she was playing and drawing; this audio was then edited and added to in order to create a story. So because of this, her character doesn’t seem to care about the situation she is in. It also makes her character more believable.
Emily’s clone doesn’t show many emotions. Occasionally she says she is happy or is feeling “very bad”, but she only expresses her emotions by telling, rather than showing. For many years of her life she spent time on different planets without people. She says that she fell in love with multiple objects that couldn’t speak with her and couldn’t show their emotion. They couldn’t connect with her the way a person could because of different needs and capabilities. She fell in love with a rock, a fuel tank, and a monster, all of which eventually she had to leave, and barely showed any grief. Later she falls in love with a human, who eventually dies. She explains that she doesn’t have the mental and emotional capacity for too much emotion, but sometimes she would sit in her room and feel “very bad”. Despite this advance in her emotions, she still is unable to express them very well. “I am very proud of my sadness because it means I am more alive. I no longer fall in love with rock.” After she fell in love with the human she didn’t feel the same way for other things. Her personality shifted and she was able to understand emotions slightly better.
World of Tomorrow effectively grasps the audiences attention through humour, dialogue, and emotion. It uses aspects that people can connect to in order to create a more memorable atmosphere. The balance of humour and seriousness give the audience a more “human” feel to the short, which is therefore more relatable and enjoyable. This film explores important life lessons through stories, dialogue, and ideas which leave the audience satisfied.
“Do not lose time on daily trivialities. Do not dwell on petty detail. For all of these things melt away and drift apart within the obscure traffic of time. Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.”
© Sophie Kimsey – The Falcon Post, 2017