An absolute triumph from beginning to end, David A. Weiner continues his love letters to 80s cinema with In Search of Tomorrow. A tremendous glance back at a genre and a decade that was so influential to audiences. Just a fantastic documentary.
Covering a decade of one genre is no mean feat; luckily for us, David A. Weiner is virtually an expert in this field of documentaries at this point. He returns with another comprehensive piece with In Search of Tomorrow. Filled with talking-head interviews with stars and filmmakers of the films and critics and clips, we get an authentic feel to the omnipresent love throughout the near 5-hour runtime.
Weiner sensibly keeps with the template that worked so well in his previous documentary In Search of Darkness by going through each year within the decade and picking a selection of films and the themes of what influenced them. For example, the influence that science fiction was getting from the fears of the Cold War. This is extremely smart filmmaking as it gives us ideas of what channelled their nightmare scenarios into film. Of course, clips of 80s films interspersed in these sections to help those moments resonate even more.
As well as discussions of the Cold War, we are presented with other themes as well, the unbelievably great VFX work being carried out at the time and even what marketing was like in the 80s for not only sci-fi, but all films, with an example of an always pleasing clip of the Ghostbusters music video. This is where the documentary shines and gives it a further bow to its ample arsenal. It would be the simplest thing in the world (he says) to just talk about a selection of films with those involved or those who loved the film. However, by increasing the scope and showing us the importance of the genre in that decade, we can appreciate it all on another level.
What is refreshing is that while there are some massive films selected for discussion, like Empire Strikes Back, all of the movies get around about the same discussion time, with any films mentioned never getting short changed. Of course, we would love a feature-length insight into these films, but we have an entire decade to get through and thus, films like Blade Runner need to be curtailed a tad before we go into thorough deep dive territory. After all, if you want such documentaries that go in-depth into a film, there has most likely been an amazing behind the scenes piece about it.
Little moments like Mega Force getting merrily wedged in between Blade Runner and Tron warms your heart and pulls you into the documentary as even the smaller films get their moments to shine. As you watch on in the blink of an eye, 2 hours have gone by. Everyone just seems so happy to chat, from Jenette Goldstein, Sean Young to Billy Dee Williams. We have a plethora of subjects to talk to and their enthusiasm ensures you are never bored. Which in itself is something quite remarkable when you sit down and think about it. In Search of Tomorrow is massive in its scope and in other hands could be quite a daunting piece to tackle even as a viewer.
As with previous documentaries, Weiner can remind us of films that have perhaps slipped through our minds. Films like Outland and Galaxina have you immediately on the hunt to watch for the first time or return to for a well deserved rewatch. That is the glory of In Search of Tomorrow. It knows its audience so perfectly that even if a film does not get a whole segment, it will more likely or not be mentioned. So it has you immediately write it down (though stick to the credits where every film highlighted will have its title present, and you could effectively just start your massive watch list from there).
Listen, we could go on for an age about how wonderful this documentary is, but all you need to know is that In Search of Tomorrow is another success for Weiner, who has gone into as much detail as possible. We can only hope that he copies what he did with his In Search of Darkness series and gives us a sequel or two to his sci-fi thread. Goodness knows he would have audiences ready to sit down for another four or so hours to revel in one hell of a decade for science fiction.
To pre-order the film until March 27th, visit http://www.80sscifidoc.com.
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