Don Hertzfeldt is an amazing animator that I have admired for many years. Now he is finally up for an Oscar for his short film, World of Tomorrow (2015). Last night I found out it was available on Netflix and ended up watching it twice, so far. Here’s the teaser trailer, which is nice but doesn’t give you a full sense of how great it is.

Granted, like so many things I admire, World of Tomorrow isn’t for everyone, but it is brilliant. The sense of humor, the questioning of technological, “advances,” the way it plays off other science fiction films of the past, the way it presents the mind of a child, it’s all smartly done. And it’s only 16 minutes long, so why not check it out? What do you have to lose?

One point that particularly impressed me was on the logistics of time travel. I have seen and read many stories in this genre and one practical reality that is almost never mentioned is the fact that everything in the universe moves. The earth spins around and moves around the sun, which moves around the center of our galaxy, and even that is moving. So, if you could travel in time, you would need to do more than simply set the date you want to go to; you would need to figure out where in the universe the earth was on that date, which would be very difficult in a universe that has no fixed locations. Hertzfeldt doesn’t go into detail on this point but he does at least bring it up in a clever way.

I should probably warn you that this isn’t a happy film – his films aren’t typically – but it will make you think about what it means to be human and maybe make you appreciate what you have before it is gone.

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