Disney’s Tomorrowland is a movie about a former boy-genius inventor jaded by disillusionment. It is played by George Clooney as Frank Walker and a bright, optimistic, scientifically curious teen played by Britt Robertson as Casey Newton. They embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place that exists collectively in their memory across space and time. The movie shows a world where nothing is impossible and where ideas are nurtured and encouraged. It is a movie about changing the world with the tiniest of actions.

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Poster of the movie_©www.imdb.com

Inspiration

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City of the Future_©www.cinemablend.com

The idea for the world of Tomorrowland has been taken from Walt Disney’s original plans for the City of the Future. Walt Disney had identified problems and flaws with his design of Disneyland and he wanted to take those learnings and apply them to a city to see what could be achieved. He wanted to create a self-sustained city where the workers lived, worked, and played within an isolated environment. 

The city would use a radial plan, with an urban center with buildings and communities branching off of it and the density of these communities reducing as one moved away from the center. The entire city would be connected by monorails and there would be no use for individual cars, further eliminating the need for parking. The entire city could be designed with a special view for pedestrians and sustainable transportation. 

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Plan of the City_©forums.wdwmagic.com

However, this project lost acceleration with the death of Walt Disney and though it has been realized in the Future World at EPCOT, a new theme park, the movie has implemented the same type of planning that was initially drafted by Walt Disney. The movie acts as a tribute to Walt Disney’s dreams.

Plot

The plot of the movie revolves around the cruelty and humanity of mankind. It features a doomsday scenario where the planet is set to be destroyed due to the inactions of humans. The future is dark and scary. There are famines, unstable governments, poverty, global warming and environmental collapse, and wars on every continent. However, the movie urges us to have faith and keep working towards a better future as the tiniest of actions can give wonderful results. The cynicism of Frank Walker is contrasted with the optimism of Casey Newton, who sees the beauty of the world and ultimately saves it.

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Doomsday Clock showing the time left in the destruction of earth_©www.imdb.com

Time Periods and Locations

The movie has scenes set through various time periods and locations. From the 1964 New York World’s Fair to a very futuristic city, the movie explores the different times and places through its architecture and design. It also features the Eiffel Tower functioning as a transport point to the other world, and a NASA Demolition Platform Site.

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1964 New York World Fair_©www.imdb.com

The 1964 New York World’s Fair sets the stage for the introduction of the futuristic city. The scene is bright and vibrant, portraying the emotions of the atmosphere at the fair. Hopes are high and there is wonder and excitement at the discoveries, inventions, and structures put on display for the world to see.

The character then travels to the city of dreams, Tomorrowland. His way of transportation itself is very innovative and advanced. There are flying cars and trains and hovering prams. The buildings are large and tall, touching the sky, curving and circling around. There is ample greenery as the buildings seem to have been designed with an eye to it. The skies are a bright blue filled with chirping birds and the entire scene feels heavenly and delightful. It feels as if the viewer is stepping into a futuristic dream.

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Tomorrowland_©www.slashfilm.com
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Another view of the City_©www.volganga.com

Some parts of the movie have been shot at the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain. This neo-futuristic building has been designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calavatra. The city in the movie has similar futuristic white buildings and hence, this building fits right in with the others in its style and design.

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City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain_©www.lucasfoxstyle.com
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Shot at City of Arts and Sciences_©www.imdb.com

Additional filming also took place at the “Its a Small World” exhibit in Disneyland, California. The cityscape of Tomorrowland had various Disney rides such as Space Mountain and Spaceship Earth incorporated into its architecture. The filmmakers have put in efforts to bring the magic of Disneyland’s to the film.

Color Palette and Mood

The entire movie has a very bright color palette conveying a mood of hope and wonder. The cinematography and visual effects blend in perfectly with the movie. The lighting effects in the scenes with the Eiffel Tower and also the laser ray guns feel realistic.

The Eiffel Tower Scene_©www.tomorrowlandtimes.com

Disney’s Tomorrowland is a wonderful movie in its plot, cinematography, architecture, and characters. It does a very good job of realizing the world that Walt Disney had dreamt of-a world for creators, dreamers, scientists, and artists. The filmmakers have also managed to convey the urgency of changing our actions to protect our future and given hope that change is possible. The architecture of the city creates a vision for our future and thus inspires us to work for it.

References:

  1. Tomorrowland. (2015). [Film]. Directed by Brad Bird. United States, Spain, France, Canada, United Kingdom. Walt Disney Pictures.
  2. IMDB. Tomorrowland (2015). [online]. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1964418/?ref_=ttmi_tt [Accessed date: 25-05-2022].
  3. Dirk Libbey – Cinema Blend (June 2020). Epcot: The Original Plan For Walt Disney World’s City Of The Future. [online]. Available at: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2547780/epcot-the-original-plan-for-walt-disney-worlds-city-of-the-future [Accessed date: 25-05-2022].
  4. Adrian Kmita – Weekend Notes (May 2015). Tomorrowland – Film Review. [online]. Available at: https://www.weekendnotes.com/tomorrowland-film-review/ [Accessed date: 26-05-2022].
  5. Michael Goldman – The ACS (June 2015). Tomorrowland. [online]. Available at: https://theasc.com/ac_magazine/June2015/Tomorrowland/page1.html [Accessed date: 27-05-2022].
  6. Fandom. Tomorrowland (film). [online]. Available at: https://tomorrowland.fandom.com/wiki/Tomorrowland_(film) [Accessed date: 27-05-2022].
Author

Kanak Holani is a first year architecture student who can usually be found reading novels and trying her hand at various crafts. She is passionate about history, culture and climate and how it all ties in with architecture.

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