World Of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts film review

Don Hertzfeldt returns with another stunning animated wonder

The sequel to Don Hertzfeldt’s Oscar nominated animation, World Of Tomorrow, is just as profound, funny and charming as the original with the return of the excitable exclamations and pitter-patter of Emily Prime’s feet still as cute and endearing as the first time round.

Hertzfeldt wrote both films around secretly recorded audio of his five-year-old niece just going about her day drawing and playing. The original saw Emily whisked through a neural network by a future adult clone of herself and this time Hertzfeldt expands his universe of animated stick people and eye-popping backdrops with a bizarre adventure led by a partial copy of the clone from the first film called Emily-6. The result is mind-blowing.

Hertzfeldt’s high-concept science fiction explains in a very matter-of-fact manner via Emily-6 (voiced with an eerie detachment from Julia Pott) that twenty-five years in the future the earth has exploded. Emily-6 is a memory backup who has no concept of human experiences and looks to the energetic Prime for answers. They take a trip through Emily-6’s memory banks to pink fluffy cloud land, triangle land, the valley of buried memories and ‘The Bog of Realism’ where Prime finds a ‘glimmer of hope.’ Hertzfeldt’s tragi-comic genius shines brightly as Emily-6 tells her to ‘put it back!’ A group of memory tourists occasionally pop their heads in at inopportune moments to enquire and learn and add to the hilarious chaos.

Human cloning on a mass scale and the end of the world may not seem that far off and Hertzfeldt bundles all the disorder and confusion of these ideas into a perfectly formed package that deals with human temperament in the face of it all while niftily reminding us not to be fearful of change through Prime’s bold curiosity. Technological advancement that leaves behind fragments of memory and personality isn’t too difficult to imagine, what with the force and impact of social media and the internet, but it’s sometimes a bewildering place to be as Hertzfeldt so playfully and uniquely conveys.

This film was seen at London International Animation Film Festival and can now be rented on Vimeo.