If there is one film that comes close to the secrecy of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, it is Tomorrowland, the highly anticipated film from director Brad Bird. The film is buried in mystery, with its connection to Walt Disney, several World’s Fair attractions, and great scientific minds accounting for most of what we know of the plot’s synopsis. Last year, the crew completed some filming at Walt Disney World, but now they have taken over a section of Disneyland. Find more details after the break!
We know that the 1964 World’s Fair, which took place in Queens, NY, is a major player in the film’s plot, but we just do not know in what way the setting is utilized. Walt Disney led the development of two of the fair’s attractions, Carousel of Progress and it’s a small world, both of which still stand to this day, just in different locations. “Carousel” and “small world” moved over to Disneyland after the fair came to a close, but “Carousel” was shifted over to Orlando, Florida soon after the opening of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park. “Carousel” was closed for a short period of time late last year for filming by Tomorrowland crew and “small world” seems to currently be in a similar situation.
MousePlanet reports that the film’s crew is currently dressing up the exterior of the ride for some shooting that will reportedly occur February 4th and 5th. The attraction had already been closed for “refurbishment,” so that the holiday-theming added to the attraction in November could be removed. With some tweaks expected to ready the attraction for filming, which will presumably attempt to somewhat recreate the World’s Fair setting, the most significant change thusfar has been the addition of canopies, seen in a photo taken by Twitter user @The_Con_Fluence:
— Shawn Marshall (@The_Con_Fluence) January 30, 2014
Another photo, from @FanDisneyland, provides us with a wider shot of the work in progress:
— Miss Disneyland (@FanDisneyland) January 31, 2014
Additionally, below is a video, also captured by The_Con_Fluence, which gives us a peek of the work being completed, with a view from the Disneyland Railroad:
If you download the Tomorrowland app for the iPhone, which debuted at the D23 Expo last summer, it goes into the history of the World’s Fair, and you can see blueprints for “the original concept of it’s a small world,” which included a significantly larger space, a large portion of which was a mysterious lower level. In the audio that accompanies the blueprints, the purpose of the additional space is discussed, although unsurprisingly we are left without an answer, deepening the mystery of the film and the attraction’s ties to the World’s Fair.
The film remains my most anticipated live-action film of the next two years for a number of reasons. Brad Bird is a masterful director who has directed a number of incredible films, The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. Tomorrowland is his second live-action film after Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was a great film packed with spectacular action sequences and an intelligent story. As one of the brightest directors currently working in the film industry, you should be excited for Tomorrowland solely because it is a Brad Bird film.
However, there are additional reasons to add this to your list of upcoming films to salivate over. Damon Lindelof, who some see as a controversial writer due to his involvement with Lost and Prometheus, co-wrote the film. He is a risk taker in an age where many churn out generic plots, and I happen to have enjoyed both his ability to infuse humanity in characters and his reach for telling original stories. I admire Lindelof’s vision and courage and look forward to seeing what he can accomplish working alongside Bird.
We have not even gotten to the film’s actual storyline yet, but that is mostly because we really do not have much of an idea of the film’s plot. The synopsis that Disney has released reads:
Bound by a shared destiny, a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor jaded by disillusionment embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as “Tomorrowland.”
The involvement of the NY World’s Fair and the classic attractions, though, will be a great celebration of their importance to both Disney Parks and to creativity. “Carousel of Progress” and “it’s a small world” were easily two of Walt Disney’s most passionate projects and their inclusion in the film will only raise the public’s awareness of these two great attractions. As it happens, both celebrate their 50th Anniversary this year, and rightly deserve their time in the spotlight.
We may not learn much of the large plot elements of Tomorrowland before the film opens, and I honestly would welcome that approach. Bird has often commented on trailers and how many of them give away far too much of their films’ story, effectively ruining that joy that audiences get from viewing a film for the first time. I would expect viral marketing to play a major role in the promotion of the film, at least to focus on raising the excitement level for the film in a way that does not tread too close to fully showing its hand. We will have to wait and see.
Tomorrowland is set to debut in theaters next year, on May 22nd, 2015!