World of Tomorrow (2015)

brooke I want to start by saying that I never thought I could love a short cartoon more than I loved Don Herztfeldt’s Rejected Cartoons.
But here we are, 16 years later, and he’s completely outdone himself

casey World of Tomorrow is friggin’ beautiful. One of the funniest and saddest films I’ve seen in a long time. So much emotion from a fifteen minute cartoon about crudely drawn stick figures.

brooke It’s a masterpiece. I sincerely hope that teens worldwide cling to it the way I did with Rejected.

casey The difficulty in writing about World of Tomorrow is that because of its brevity it’s hard to recap without spoiling the little twists that make the movie wonderful. Don’t worry, we won’t ruin it…. but readers ought to watch it themselves. It’s on Netflix right now!

brooke As of February 2016! Here’s hoping it stays on Netflix forever.

casey World of Tomorrow tells the story of Emily, a young girl no older than three or four, who is contacted by a third generation clone of herself. Clone Emily soon takes Emily Prime on a journey into the clone’s world, over two hundred years in the future. It’s a world in which humanity has developed the technology to extract memories, view any historical event on special monitors, and upload digital consciousnesses into small boxes, among other things. But, in good sci-fi fashion, we quickly learn that this future may not be quite as rosy as it first appears.

brooke It’s amazing to watch this broken society introduced by a clone (“with very few signs of montal detariaration,” she proudly states) to a toddler whose interest in the situation is mostly limited to the colors and lines of the matrix-like outernet. Also the shooting stars, which are actually dead bodies falling back to earth thanks to “discount time travel” errors.

casey Did we mention that it’s hilarious? I love how there’s goofiness and tragedy embedded in so many of the same lines of dialogue. There’s absurd humor in the matter-of-fact way clone Emily interacts with Emily Prime, but it’s also genuinely moving to watch the clone talk about her life and past romances, which include a space rock and an unintelligible alien creature named Simon. Meanwhile, Herztfelt’s macabre sense of humor is a backdrop to the whole thing.

brooke Macabre isn’t the right word: it’s more an existential surrealism. Rejected is closer to the surreal and World of Tomorrow is more existential, but both are usually present in his work.

In Tomorrow, you have the emotionally-stunted Emily narrating a world populated mostly by robots, clones and clones, and boxes of uploaded consciousnesses, and the way Herztfeldt plays with those ideas is absolute perfection.

casey So it’s definitely GOOD existential. Not like you, Heart of Glass

brooke Don’t muddle our recap by mentioning that terrible German tragedy!

casey Let’s talk about the art! I said above that the characters are crudely drawn, but the film is gorgeous to look at. The backgrounds are stylized, colorful, and full of unique and odd shapes.

brooke It’s a mishmash of stick figures against a variety of backgrounds, including some that look like watercolor.

casey There are also a few really effective minimalist scenes. It’s very pretty to look at in its unconventional way.

brooke I wish I knew more about animation so I could better appreciate everything Herztfeldt is doing.

casey I think we agree that this one’s a winner. We’ve already watched it three times, and those viewings combined took less time than it took to write and edit this conversation. World of Tomorrow is absolutely one of my favorite 2015 releases, and I suspect we’ll see it many times more in the future.

brooke Maybe we’ll put it on again now!

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