In Search of Tomorrow (Review)
1982 marks an incredible milestone of one of the popular genres in cinema, Science-fiction! Where The Road Warrior, ET, The Thing, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and the first Cyberpunk cult classic, Blade Runner made their debuts. This was also the time when the emerging VHS market was a boom throughout the infamous decade.
Creator VC and Writer, Director David A. Weiner who I first learned of after watching In Search of the Last Action Hero and of course In Search of Darkness has dropped a new documentary and he is putting extras on it, as in five hours of material!
As with 2020's In Search of Darkness, In Search of Tomorrow centers around the humble beginnings and the phenomenal impact of the science-fiction film genre throughout the 80’s-decade courtesy of a who's who of iconic Sci-Fi actors, directors, musician and producers within the motion picture industry. Rounding out the rest, is influencers, an Astrophysicist, a Futurist and a Clinical psychologist.
But it’s heavy hitters like Billy Dee Williams, Paul Verhooven, Peter Weller, Brad Fidel, Jesse Ventura, Carrie Henn, Shane Black, Wil Weaton, John Carpenter and Sarah Douglas which had memorable takes throughout the segments.
In Search of Tomorrow tackles behind the scenes trivia some cinema enthusiasts may not be aware of:
How kids were pissed at Billy Dee Williams because of how Lando betrayed Han Solo, the suggestive scenes from Flash Gordon, how Saturn 3 pulled a sleight of hand regarding Farrah Fawcett, Eddie Murphy in Star Trek??? The doc cleverly begins with the evolution of notable science fiction works throughout the decades. From A Trip to the Moon, Metropolis, 2001 A Space Odyssey, and of course, Star Wars.
As with horror films, the eighties have further ignited the sci fi genre beyond new levels due to the collaborative imaginations of so many writers, directors and special effects artists.
Immediately Weiner and producer Robin Block, had waste no time elaborating on how science-fiction often parallel with reality as you and I both know, that at the core of many of these films, are cautionary tales of what can happen if things go unchecked. As one who often watches and write articles of films imbued with social commentary elements, it’s very easy to gravitate towards Sci-Fi and Horror media which the latter reflect the times we are living in, while the former can foreshadow the world that's coming. Shane Black gives offers a great presentation of how the 70's films were very nihilist due to the Vietnam War until Star Wars, and Close Encounters offered more optimism.
Other trivia that I wasn't aware of, is how Director, and Producer Ivan Reitman suggested the animated adaptation of Heavy Metal along with reshaping the original concept of Ghostbusters before it came to fruition. The documentary really hits the ground running during the back-to-back segments of Superman 2, Escape from New York, and Heavy Metal, my "Holy Trinity" of Sci-Fi films from 1981, the which was the genesis of 80's sci-fi.
While family friendly films such as ET, Back to the Future, Explorers, Flight of the Navigator and Cocoon among a few others were featured to balance out the nihilism associated with plenty of 80's Sci-Fi films. It's only fair, right? A not so family friendly film was Howard the Duck, which I initially loathed, but was very entertained by the mini retrospective and behind the scenes segment. Although this adaptation didn't quite fit the source material, they tried to make something appealing to both adult and younger filmgoers.
I feel more comfortable when Directors and Actors, offer their analyst of movies as opposed to clinical psychologists. To me, their opinions seem more earnest than a psychologist who offers textbook answers that may or may not apply to a movie's narrative that reflects human behavior. I mean, there are many individuals out there who can deduce why many can gravitate towards the antihero. Amirite?
Who is more likely to deconstruct a movie, than those more affiliated with the genre? That said, I appreciate Gary Scott "the Futurist’s" amusing takes on foreshadowing i.e. what has or can happen. And there's those interesting opinions from the Astrophysicist when discussing the scientific semantics from Back to the Future. I never cared for the "Back to the" series, but I my attention was undivided when listening to his explanations.
As with the previous In Search of Darkness documentaries, "Tomorrow “has what I call, "The Roulette Wall" where handpicked topics are chosen from a wall of movie posters. Some I'm very familiar with while there were others I have overlooked or those I have totally disregarded altogether nd then, there were odd film choices like Galaxina, a space parody by Director William Sachs mostly associated with 1978's The Incredible Melting Man.
After deconstructing this film, eventually one of the commentators would address the tragedy of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratton. Good Bad Flicks did a video about the movie somewhat recently and speaking of whom, I hoped YouTube icons, Cecil Trachtenberg or James Rolfe would have returned, but Gary Scott, Angelique Roach, Dayton Ward, and Film Critic Tim Cogshell made up for their absences.
And speaking of omissions, there were 3-4 movies I hoped would be covered within the five hours of material, unfortunately they didn't make the final cut for some strange reason. Personally, I would have easily swiped out Earth Girls are Easy and Flight of the Navigator for other more notable films. Perhaps, they'll be added to a potential sequel?
Empire Strikes Back, Robocop, Blade Runner, Star Trek Wrath of Khan, The Road Warrior and Escape from New York, got their shine as expected but there's literally something for everybody.
Darker commentaries such as the fear of Nuclear War, which not to my surprise, 1983's The Day After, the ABC televised movie that scared the shit out of me as a kid, was mentioned
and the commentators spared no expense when criticizing then President Ronald Reagan for his approach towards a "winnable" Nuclear exchange. Then there's the tragic Space Shuttle Challenger incident and the reactions from the interviewees, and where they were when it occurred. Insightful, inspirational, smart and thought provoking. Weiner and Creator VC knocked this one out of the park and to be honest, should there be a sequel, it’s going to be a tough challenge to top the first ISOT.
In Search of Tomorrow is another excellent love letter to Gen-Xers, Trivia buffs, and Sci-Fi enthusiasts who have the nostalgia itch. For the most part, it checks the boxes and then some.
That said no, I still don't have any fucking idea what Buckaroo Banzai was all about! 😅
Sadly, both Ivan Reitman and Douglas Trumbull passed recently but their amazing contributions continue to live on, courtesy of movies, and retrospectives such as this.
If I have any regrets, is that I couldn't back this project during 2020 due to personal reasons. ("The covid snowball effect.") As with the "In Search of " documentaries, it’s very important those fans crowdfund or back projects to support all the hard work and collaborative efforts that helps make documentaries such as these, a reality.
Not only do you get merch, but other incentives, is having your name placed among the thousands of other backers which to me, is self-rewarding!
Did you know:
The playable characters Ferra &Torr from Mortal Kombat XL was inspired from Master Blaster in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
The character Solid Snake from the Metal Gear videogame series was inspired by Snake Plissken the protagonist of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York or how Snatcher, the Cyberpunk RPG also produced by Hideo Kojima, was inspired by Blade Runner
G.I.Joe's nemesis the Dreadnoks, were loosely based on the Road Warrior