A Review of Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow

I initially came out of Don Hertzfeldt’s latest feature with a hint of confusion but gripped by its beautiful colours and shapes, a quality that has been missing for much of his previous work; I guess it grabbed me the same way that Prime Emily did when she first entered into the future, amazed by her surroundings, almost completely ignoring the profound words spoken by her third generation clone; therefore I was left underwhelmed and disappointed, missing the deadpan quality that carried his previous films, one that didn’t take itself too seriously but carried enough ideas in its randomness that depth is retained; this was the same reason why I didn’t think so highly of Don Hertzfeldt’s debut feature.

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I decided to take a second trip, an opportunity that Prime Emily will never have, and experienced it once again but this time with a stronger focus, hoping to find myself deeply rewarded. My opinion no doubt has improved, and definitely there were a couple of times where I found myself lost in the imagery and unable to unlock the secrets of Hertzfeldt’s intentions, but I have found myself grasping the purpose much better than previously.

Don Hertzfeldt delivered on his promise and gave us the world of tomorrow, a world almost unfamiliar from our own where everything that we know have improved upon by a significant margin that a member from the past life to actually live and cope there would most likely be impossible. Prime Emily comes from a future much closer to ours, and she receives a video call from an adult version of herself, a third generation clone, whose aim is to pass on an important message to her original self.

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Through the innovating technology that resides in clone Emily’s reality, she transports Prime Emily to her own world, hoping to educate her of the importance of life, the progression of humanity and technology, the impending doom of humanity, an exploration of clone Emily’s memories and experiences. Hertzfeldt uses these avenues to instil a more appreciative mindset of our present realities; cherish the intricacies and beauties as life is short and striving for perfection is simply moot since we are all going to eventually perish. Hertzfeldt was on point when the film states the value of memories becoming more apparent in moments of eventual demise, hoping that this film would allow humanity to find a similar value from a present context.

Hertzfeldt achieves this level of depth and profoundness in this work, without completely sacrificing the comedic elements that defined him early in his career, acting as an intermediate of his once self and the artist that he is destined to become. It is clear that his works would lean more towards the encapsulating emotion of It’s Such A Beautiful Day as it carries more weight and value for its viewers, and I guess in an egotistical way, that is what he personally wants, to be appreciated; if he didn’t, it could have easily been an experiment that he would have kept on its own, and not have its influence bleed onto his upcoming works. More or less, this is a speculation of Hertzfeldt’s mindset, and it can only be confirmed with his succeeding feature.

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I can see the potential for success in Hertzfeldt’s career, possibly making another feature that matches the power of It’s Such a Beautiful Day, which this time may captivate me in ways that I expected from his debut feature. World of Tomorrow marks as an improvement in his attempt for thought-provoking narrative features, taking the bold step in his career that would have been best suited years ago, but I guess there is no point dwelling in regret for the past.

Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle.

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