World of Tomorrow is a short sci-fi 2015 film by Don Hertzfeldt, and is the first of his works to be animated digitally. The story is told using a simplistic line-drawing style and is about a little girl who is contacted by her clone in the distant future. What follows is a strange mix of a young girl's blind enthusiasm and an ancient clone's robotic descriptions of the very doomed future.
The film has received many accolades for its simple, yet deep and heartfelt presentation.
In 2017 Hertzfeldt released a sequel, "World Of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden Of Other People's Thoughts", where Emily journeys through the memories of one of her future self's back-up clones. A third installment, titled "World Of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations Of David Prime", was released in 2020, and involves Emily sending a message through time to try and save her husband from his untimely death.
Tropes that apply to World Of Tomorrow:
- An Aesop:
- Live while you're alive. You only have one life, don't let it go to waste.
- Trying to run from your own mortality is not only pointless, but succeeding at it will guarantee that you end up miserable.
- And I Must Scream: Having one's consciousness loaded into a cube where time slows to a crawl seems to be this, if one of the (many) letters sent out is any indication.Oh oh God oh God oh God oh my God holy mother of God oh oh oh oh God.
- Apocalypse How: At least a Steller level one, as all outposts outside of Earth are going to be destroyed as well.
- Armor-Piercing Response: Clone!Emily spends a good deal of time talking about her deceased husband David and a memory of his she's viewed several thousand times. Prime!Emily's simple comment stops not only her clone, but the background music itself."You missed him."
- Bad Future
- Bittersweet Ending: Emily-Prime has her whole life ahead of her, but that won't change the sadness and hardships she will go through in the future. But no matter what happens — what a happy day it is!
- Black Comedy: Much of the humor is derived from young Emily's blithe reactions to horrible news, like the pretty shiny stars that are actually dead bodies being burned up in space through failed time travel.
- British Accents: Both the Emilys have the Received Pronunciation type, but it's more pronounced on the cloned Emily.
- Cheerful Child: Emily-Prime.
- Children Are Innocent: Young Emily doesn't really understand the 'doomed future' she hears of, preferring to focus on the bright colors and fun visuals of the Outernet and her future memories.
- Clarke's Third Law: Discussed."Yes, Emily Prime. To the people of your time, our technology must seem like magic."
- Clone Degeneration: Emily explains that the clones get worse with each generation. The final David clone was in such a state that his line was ended. The Emily clone also seems to have more defects than she realizes, as she is prone to random eye spasms and is emotionally stunted in a way Prime!Emily is not.
- Companion Cube: While stranded away from humanity on other moons and planets, Emily fell in love with a rock and a gas pump.
- Creepy Monotone: Emily-Clone speaks with one of these.
- Dissonant Serenity: Clone Emily is very calm about how she and the human race are all going to "die horribly."
- The End of the World as We Know It
- Flight of Romance: Future Emily explains how she and Simon romantically sailed within balloons on Mars.
- Hope Spot: Inverted. At the very end, the young Emily is transported back before humans existed in a rather dark Brick Joke. Her smile slowly slips away as the shot holds for a long, long time. Just as we think the film will end with Emily stranded and left to die, she's teleported back into her own time and current home.
- Interspecies Romance: The Emily clone fell in love with a gibberish-speaking alien she named Simon. She also fell in love with inanimate objects, like a sparkly rock and a fuel pump.
- The Lost Lenore: Emily's husband, David. The lengthy, abstract description of the grief she still feels for him can only be described as "Tranquil Fury, except with sadness".
- Minimalist Cast: There's really only the two Emilys, plus a few mentions of Clone Emily's past loves.
- My Future Self and Me
- Spock Speak: See Creepy Monotone.
- Stable Time Loop: Clone!Emily recalls the memories of Prime!Emily's experiences. Prime's memories are what cause the clone to try reconnecting to people, and eventually contact Prime Emily herself.
- Surreal Horror/Surreal Humor
- Time and Relative Dimensions in Space: Future Emily explains that time travel is still very unpredictable and extremely dangerous in her time: "If the position of the orbiting earth is not accurately calculated, a person can be sent off the planet. Many of our brave test clones are also still regularly crushed beneath the ground, or accidentally deposited hundreds of thousands of years into the past."
- Time Travel Escape: A number of people try to escape the apocalypse by jumping to a different time period with discount time travel. "Their dead bodies burn as they return to Earth and now light up our night sky."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Simon after Emily left him.