Comments for Looking back at “Tomorrowland” – Was Disney Studios’ 2015 epic ahead of its time?

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11 Comments

  1. Jay

    I completely agree. I actually just watched Tomorrowland again last week. It’s pure optimism, and it’s something we need right now. I hope more people get inspired by it, it certainly inspires me.

  2. Miles Archer

    Thought provoking article, thanks for posting. Tomorrowland was an intriguing and frustrating movie from my perspective. The “optimism” often attributed to Walt Disney is, in my opinion, often misunderstood. Seen in the larger context of a large publicly traded media conglomerate whose corporate culture and values today share less and less in common with it’s founders (including Roy Disney as co-founder), it’s understandable that the current version of Walt put forth by the company has been edited and reshaped to fit modern popular culture. To be sure, he was a flawed human being as we all are, but he had exceptional talents and abilities and he is worth remembering for what he was and not for what we wished he was.

    In my opinion, the truth about Walt Disney is that he was far closer to Ray Bradbury’s pragmatic description of him (i.e. an “optimal behavorist”) than the version of him put forward by the company and by Disney-enthusiasts today. The Worlds Fair & E.P.C.O.T. projects were not attempts at innovating for the sake of creating a science-centric Utopian society of perfect people with perfect intentions, they were extensions of Walt’s often stated belief in the concepts of liberty, the free exchange of ideas, and of free enterprise.

    These are values not shared by Mr. Iger and The Walt Disney Company as it exists today as evidenced by their continued investment in the Chinese government. There is no way to square the Walt Disney that appeared in the E.P.C.O.T film shortly before his death in 1966 expressing his hope that it would be a “showcase to the world of the American free enterprise system…” and the company he co-founded making it possible for a govenment ,who is the antithesis of freedom, to profit from Shanghai Disneyland and the Disney brand. It’s probably not that useful to speculate about what he would approve of and what he wouldn’t in a modern context, but is there any doubt how he would come down on a Disney park built in a Communist country? It isn’t optimism driving that decision, but cynicism.

    The horrors and challenges of this world aren’t solved by well-intentioned dreamers using the scientific method, and this is why the message of Tomorrowland came across as hollow and didn’t connect with audiences. One of Walt Disney’s greatest achievements was his consistent successful leveraging of American free enterprise to make his ideas a reality. ABC bankrolled Disneyland, G.E. & Ford made the World’s Fair exhibitions possible, and the plans for E.P.C.O.T. contained an entire industrial park which would have acted as the engine fueling the city’s growth and sustainability.

    It isn’t fear of the future that stops us from building a Tomorrowland but rather a cultural fear of freedom itself.

    “Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave. That is why I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life. All men will want to be free and share our way of life. There must be so much that I should have said, but haven’t. What I will say now is just what most of us are probably thinking every day. I thank God and America for the right to live and raise my family under the flag of tolerance, democracy and freedom.” – Walt Disney, 1941-03-01

    Thanks again for posting.

  3. TimP

    Tomorrowland was about “apocalyptic devastation” that happened to the real world, whereas Avengers Infinity War was about an apocalypse in a comic book world that will likely be reversed by next year when Guardians and Spiderman will soon be filming their sequels. Movies that show the apocalypse is not always tiring. Tomorrowland was just a bad movie and nothing will make me watch that mess again.

  4. Mario

    I have to agree. Tomorrowland has certainly made an impact on my life the first time I saw it in theaters the summer of 2015. Despite how people thought of the movie, both critics and moviegoers alike, I thought the movie was a masterpiece and was beautifully crafted. I feel like this movie is really underappreciated and deserves more attention especially since we live in a world that needs these types of messages to help dreamers and innovators change the world for the good of everyone and inspire new generations of people to do the same. Perhaps one of my other favorite things asside from the actual reimagining of Tomorrowland’s appearence is how historic figures and events such as the 1964 World’s Fair and people such as Walt Disney, Eiffel,Tesla, Edison, Eirhart, Verne, and so many others were all woven into the doings of the futuristic society of the Plus Ultra. But the best part about this fascinating and intriguing movie is the important message it sends forth to the audience: Optimism is the best way to make the world we live in a better place, to continue to dream big, and to always do what is good.

  5. Rich Kostner

    I thoroughly loved this film! From beginning to end. However, I feel it just wasn’t marketed correctly. It’s like the marketing was based for another movie. Had more people known what the movie really was about, I think it would have been more successful. Performances were all top notch and I especially loved the “Small World” ride and added bonus if wearing the right pin! I did not understand, though, why Walt Disney was not mentioned in a post credit about being a true innovator. The music was incredible! Perfect scoring for the ending scene.

  6. Matt

    Great article.

  7. Tomorrowland is confused.It had to overcome a preconceived prejudice of just being some other Disney subject park promotional movie however in preference to making human beings swallow their premature phrases a la Guardians of the Galaxy it delivered a weak script, uneven pacing, heavy exceeded moralising and a pretty underwhelming finale.

  8. I’m so happy to see this film has a continued cult following. As a big fan of Disney history as well as “retro-future” optimism, I absolutely loved it and still do. Brad Bird hit it out of the park, if you ask me. I was so sad to see that moviegoers in 2015 were far more invested in Mad Max: Fury Road, a film about a bleak, grim future. Even though both fall into the “sci-fi” genre, Mad Max may actually be the more realistic of the two type of futures, given the current events of today. But, through science and optimism, it’s not impossible to have a future somewhat like the one in Tomorrowland. As Horizons once put it, “If we can dream it, we can do it.”

  9. Curbina

    I think Tomorrowland is a widely misunderstood masterpiece. It is really sad to see comments from people that did not get anything right about the ideas behind the movie. I’m so glad I found this article, I knew there had to be people that had been capable of seeing it for the masterpiece it is. The first time I saw it I was so enthralled I had to see it once again inmediately. I felt it was like a slap in the face, but of the best kind, the kind that gets you out of inaction and pesimism. I recommend it to everyone I can.

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