World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime Film Details
Overview: A hidden memory sends David across the far reaches of time and space to solve a deadly mystery involving his time-traveling future selves.
Review: After watching this short once, it became clear that I could not do justice to reviewing it without having re-watched the previous two parts before and getting a general view of the trilogy, specially as I am building up on my previous review for Episode Two. Like Hertzfeldt’s previous work “It’s Such a Beautiful Day”, “World of Tomorrow” has so far consisted of independent short films that still tie to a continuous narrative and could well be edited as a single full-length movie in the future. While “Beautiful Day” ended up uniting a trilogy of shorts, “WoT” could consist of a further sequel(s?) to Episode Three, as this leaves some loose threads primed for answering if so desired. Should that not be the case, and Episode Three conlcudes the tale of David and Emily and their many clones and clone backups, it would still be an impressive finale. As revealed over its 30-minute runtime (the longest of the shorts so far), the Absent Destinations of David Prime go on to recontextualize several plot points from the previous shorts, including the origin of the museum exhibit David and the Man with the Seriously Misinterpreted Haircut. Unlike them, however, Episode Three no longer relies on the ramblings of Hertzfeldt’s young niece, instead consisting almost entirely on exposition by Julia Pott, the brilliant voice of the adult Emilys. The director’s work has often been noted for a deconstruction of form and narrative and the proportion of exposition to plot in this short would have felt very out of place in practically any other sci-fi movie, greatly affecting its quality. For Hertzfeldt, however, this is standard for the course and this decision, along with other peculiar ones such as a sound mix that often favors unintelligibility and repetitive, annoying noises, only assist in improving the unique effectiveness of its experimental streak. Comparing it to the previous shorts, it is also clear that the quality of the image and animation, mostly the clever and subtle use of cel-shaded 3D CGI imagery, has improved over the course of the trilogy(?). “World of Tomorrow” represents one of the most cerebral and beautiful sci-fi works of the 21st century so far, equal parts unsettling, hopeful and hilarious (let’s not forget that this complex narrative is starred by what are glorified stick figures).
Country: United States
Duration: 34 min
Genre: Animation, Short, Comedy
Also known as: World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime