I hope we never lose sight of one thing: It was all started by a box.
When this “mystery box” was unleashed upon the public in 2013, many of us attempted to decipher what it could mean. All we knew is this “discovered” box would be the premise for Brad Bird’s upcoming film, “1952.” Now, this isn’t meant as an “I told you so” kind of brag, but I started talking to any of my friends who would listen about my wild ideas for what this film could be. There were three things that stood out for me about this box. The first was that 1952 was the year Walt Disney established Disneyland, Inc, and the public first heard of a proposed Disneyland idea (in this instance it was the much smaller park intended to be built next to the studios). The second consisted of the scattered pictures of Walt with different people – I honestly have to admit I didn’t look close enough at this point to figure out who they were. The third (identified with help from other geeky sites intrigued by the mystery), was the Amazing Stories magazine, which brought about a science fiction element. To me, the strongest possibility was this:
This movie was not going to be titled “1952.” This was Disney’s “Tomorrowland” movie finally seeing light, and being made by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof.
The public had been teased with the idea of a Tomorrowland movie before. After the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, many wondered how many attractions would get their own movie! At one point, I remember hearing wind of Tomorrowland being made into a sci-fi comedy, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson attached as a possible lead. This wasn’t the vision I had hoped for. This was more along the lines of the Eddie Murphy fronted “Haunted Mansion” – visually stunning, yet rather lackluster. Tomorrowland had more potential than that, I thought. Thankfully, we never got to see the full vision of that one played out, as Tomorrowland faded quietly into the background for a few years. Until the mystery box.
What could it be? Like I stated above, I had my theories. What if Walt had planned on his small little park next to the studio, only to be intrigued so much by this vision for the future, that he realized he needed a bigger space? He needed an area where he could build different lands, including a Tomorrowland that had a secret portal into a real land of the future? The idea was staggering to me. The thing is, it was all a crazy theory cooked up in my mind. But also, should Disney go ahead with something even remotely like this, it was a bold move I could totally get behind. When Bird announced that he was indeed working on a Tomorrowland movie, I became giddy with excitement. I knew it! But still not known was, what would it be about?
Of course, we now know enough to know my hypothesis wasn’t completely accurate. This movie isn’t about Walt Disney building Tomorrowland. But… we know that Tomorrowland is a real place in the movie, and that Walt had quite the hand in it. That right there is enough to keep me looking forward with a very real anticipation. To know that Disney, Bird, and Lindelof would dare to imagine this alternate reality storyline where Tomorrowland matters and is perhaps the most important place in the world is nothing short of mind blowing. However, while this explains my excitement for the upcoming movie, it still doesn’t explain WHY Tomorrowland matters so much.
This is something I plan on doing my best to explain in part two of this three part series. Part two will be posted a few days from now, as I attempt to put into words why we need a place like Tomorrowland, and how this movie (I hope) can help us all realize that need. Part three will come after I’ve seen the movie (I don’t have media access to sneak previews, so unless I miraculously get an invitation to one, this will happen opening day), and am able to form thoughts on whether the movie succeeded in presenting this idea.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the movie. Excited? Intrigued? Or just rather ambivalent towards the whole thing? I’d love to know why! Talk to you soon, fellow DisNerds!