Of the many things that can be said about Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, the focus on design and ideas certainly lands in the positive column. The best parts of it, to me, were those that hearkened back to the Jet- and Rocket-Age visions of science and science fiction’s past. Equally as neat was the bit of revisionist history stuff about Plus Ultra, the amalgam of four of the greatest minds of the early-20th century, those being Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nicola Tesla, and Thomas Edison. They were, in the story of Tomorrowland, the folks who thought up the place itself. The scene in which George Clooney’s character explains all this–taking place within the Eiffel Tower, of course–was one of the highlights of the film.
Which is exactly why we love this piece of viral marketing Bird tweeted out last month. It’s a throwback piece of animation supposedly made for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, which essentially serves as the beginning of the movie, explaining to possible future imagineers the beginning of the idea that became Tomorrowland while also dissecting the Plus Ultra history. And since it’s a piece of propaganda, it also warns of the dangers of conscienceless progress, which is–spoiler alert–a big part of the movie.
The animation of this certainly feels like something Disney would have made during the 1960s and even features Maurice LaMarche doing his best Paul Frees, who would narrate most of these films and was also renowned for sounding a lot like Orson Welles. However you felt about the movie itself, this bit of animation perfectly encapsulates those ideas as well as the style of Disney’s animation of the past. Interesting, no?