by John Ostrander
There’s an interesting duel going on at your local Cineplex – two very different views of the future. One is Mad Max: Fury Road and the other is Tomorowland. The first is a reboot of the classic Mad Max films, set in a very dystopian future, while Tomorrowland is based, in part, on a section of Disneyland. (While that might seem a bit thin a premise on which to base a film, keep in mind that the initial Pirates of the Caribbean was based on a ride at Disneyland and, the initial film at least, was delightful.)
While I haven’t yet seen the latest Mad Max incarnation, I know its predecessors very well and the trailers have certainly more than suggested that it’s the same landscape. Tomorrowland posits a city founded by the likes of Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, Nikolai Tesla, and Gustave Eiffel. In some parallel dimension, they created a utopia where the best and the brightest from all walks of life, art as well as science, can come and are encouraged to do anything they can dream. The four recruit other scientists and dreamers with a pin that has the letter “T” on it. It’s supposed to be science although for all extents and purposes, it’s a magic talisman.
I’m not going to do a review of either film but I am interested in the two contrasting visions of the future. Tomorrowland acknowledges the problems facing this world, any of which could lead to a dystopian future but it maintains that this future is not inevitable. As the villain in the piece, Governor Nix, maintains what makes it inevitable is that humanity embraces that dystopic vision, even runs towards it, because it is easier. All we have to do is nothing. Changing it requires doing something. I think doing something requires belief that the actions will have a positive effect, that the future can be changed, that it all can be made to work.