Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The strange universe of the movie Tomorrowland.

The teaser for the movie Tomorrowland looked very enticing. It was a like a sneak peek into a reimagined utopia of technology. I was looking forward to it and couldn't wait until it came out.

Spoiler alert. If you haven't watched the movie, stop now so I don't ruin it for you.

The first part of the movie matches the expectations of the teaser. The events unfold in detail and you get to see this futuristic environment thanks to a super-advanced technology. You wonder how is that possible. Then you brace for the second half of the movie and it looks like someone just threw the towel. It was framing itself to be a rallying call to the spirit of exploration. But then it started throwing curve balls until it was not recognizable.

First of all, Tomorrowland is not really in the future; it's a parallel world. Why is it called Tomorrowland then? It loses its power.

Second, it is in essence an elitist supporter of brain-drain on Earth. It doesn't support Earth's efforts; it simply exploits the existing talent, depriving earth of talented people. Its role should be to inspire people on Earth to action.

Third: The storytelling mindset changes very clearly from a science-based approach to a fantasy-based approach. The first part of the movie shows that our world can't manage its technology well and there should be a better way to achieve advancement. Clearly the support is for STEM. You would think that the rest of the movie will propose a roadmap for achieving a utopia, but instead it introduces characters and situations that would appear farfetched even to the least technical person. Example: How could the Eiffel tower house an untested rocket mode that was unknown since 1887, and could travel to the moon? Anyone with a technical background knows that even the toughest metal will corrode eventually (unless it's gold).

At that point you realize that you have to suspend your disbelief. But the problem is that the first part of the movie asked me to believe. That's why I came out of that theater thinking of a better way to tell that story. Hopefully there is an alternate reality where someone has come up with a better Tomorrowland movie.

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