Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2015 Contents A39
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For writer Damon Lindelof, the gen-
esis of the escapist adventure Tomor-
rowland was one very simple ques-
tion: What happened to our jet packs?
When he, director Brad Bird and
George Clooney were children (albeit
at slightly different times), the future
seemed like something great. To them,
it was full of wonder around the gadgets
and inventions that populated their
entertainment and sparked their devel-
Clooney, who was born in 1961, just
as the Space Race was picking up,
remembers its influence on his youth.
"My whole childhood was eating
space food sticks and drinking Tang,"
he said in a recent interview with Bird
and Lindelof. By the time Clooney was
eight-years-old, a man had already
walked on the moon.
Even amid the political and social
turmoil of the time, it was hard for
them not to look at everything with
such rose-colored glasses---especially
with Walt Disney as a consistent and
persuasive advocate for optimistic
futurism. Disney, in his television series
"Disneyland," would present scientific
ideas to his young viewers and speculate
on what the future might hold.
"We were fairly positive that at some
point in our lifetime, the world was
going to end in a nuclear holocaust.
That was a real possibility," said
Clooney. "It was as bad as anything
you see today, but we all thought some-
thing was going to work out."
Bird, born in 1957, said that Disney s
influence on that can-do attitude of
the era was undeniable.
"He was this hub of imagination.
Every time that he talked about the
future, it was fascinating and it was
fun and it was bright and it was like
all these great things are going to hap-
pen," said Bird.
And then, of course, there was
Tomorrowland itself. The area of Dis-
neyland opened in 1955 and imagined
what 1986 might look like. Disney called
it a "step into the future, with predic-
tions of constructed things to come."
(The Tomorrowland section of Disney-
land isn t physically portrayed in
Tomorrowland the movie. Rather, it
exists more as an abstraction and the
film s undeniable inspiration.)
From the Moonliner s "trip to the
moon" to the Carousel of Progress,
Tomorrowland shaped the minds of
generations of kids. For Bird, the best
version of Tomorrowland was the one
that opened six months after Disney s
1966 death and represented his com-
Even Clooney had an early transfor-
mative experience at the park.
"I was six when I went there and it
was fascinating. Tomorrowland was
going to be the future. I thought that s
what it actually was going to be," said
But something happened in between,
and our collective attitude about what s
to come has soured for many.
"That idea of you being personally
responsible for your own future---where
that future is potentially fun---has start-
ed to slip away," said Lindelof, who was
born in 1973.
Bird added: "We ve been gradually
prepared for the idea that the future is
going to stink. It s happened so slowly
that we haven t really noticed it."
That s where the Disney movie
Tomorrowland kicks off. In a story
developed by Lindelof, Bird and long-
time Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff
Jensen, a boy genius turned pessimistic
adult grump (Clooney) gets entangled
with a driven and bright dreamer, Casey
(Britt Robertson), who endeavors to go
to Tomorrowland and fix what s been
Part of that involved Clooney taking
a back seat to the young female pro-
tagonist in the film.
"In my 30s, I got to punch the guy
and fall on the ground and walk away
and there are explosions behind me as
I m walking toward the camera. Now
I m the guy who gets socked in the
face, who falls on the ground and who
whines a lot," said Clooney.
By embracing an original idea with
Tomorrowland, Bird also believes the
film is a response to the standardisation
of summer movies---all superheroes
and sequels. It s a brave thing to go
Rediscovering Walt Disney's optimistic in
against the mold, especially this earnestly.
"Not everything is based on a comic book," said
Bird. "People say that they want to see something
original and there is a way to do that," he added,
even though Tomorrowland is technically based on
an area in a theme park.
Doing that meant fully committing to the spirit
of optimism, even if it is a bit retro, simplistic and
possibly naive. But that s their point: To inspire a
new generation of unjaded innovators. (AP)
A scene from the
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