Science fiction films broaden ideas and possibilities for the present and future. Though each decade has memorable films and concepts in the sci-fi genre, the 80s were pivotal due to the vast ideas explored on the silver screen. Like how Romero’s Night of the Living Dead made a blueprint for zombies that all other films and shows followed, the 80s science fiction films crafted dystopian, futuristic worlds and ideas that most present-day science fiction movies pull from. In Search of Tomorrow discusses each year of the 80s and picks apart the film’s quality, vision, technology, practical and special effects, and moments that impact audiences.
The documentary is long, and I mean long, but David A. Weiner—writer and director of In Search of Tomorrow—talks to the child actors, directors, writers, and film critics about the beauty, terror, and silliness of 80s science fiction and I love it. I’ve always been a fan of these kinds of visual listicle-style documentaries about films. I still love and miss seeing Bravo channel’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments! What makes these documentaries appealing is the feeling of kinship or community. We converse with the screen and nod in the affirmative as though hearing a sermon that speaks to our emotions. Learning about movies we have not seen but can add to a watchlist does not hurt either.
Categories Plus Runtime Equals Some Confusion
The only issue that was a bit confusing was the overlapping organization. They go from year to year and have subcategories like worldbuilding and special effects, plus events like the space shuttle Challenger tragedy. That ping-ponging with the length creates uncertainty about where we are in the film. Yes, the film shows a category, but it goes on for so long (runtime is close to five hours) that it is easy to forget what sub-section the interviewees are discussing. All of this still does nothing to temper the overall joy science fiction lovers will experience, but In Search of Tomorrow still becomes muddled at times.
Not Comprehensive But Clearly Shows Respect
My favorite movies from my youth, like Flight of the Navigator and The Last Starfighter, leave me nostalgic for my childhood. Fans of sci-fi, significantly 80s sci-fi, should add this documentary to their collection. So much about the films then stylish, and broad and groundbreaking. From the sci-fi comedy of Earth Girls Are Easy to the sci-fi horror of Aliens, there was something available to any demographic. Additional info about making a film or scene that gives more detail about the experience, like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s fit about playing Predator, is priceless. I appreciate how they discuss a mix of blockbusters and obscure films that may get new life and a new audience today.
Documentary lovers or sci-fi fans will enjoy and recall films they have not seen recently and discover moments and knowledge around film gems. I am fond of the greater context of beloved films, and In Search of Tomorrow delivers a fun time. In Search of Tomorrow is like sitting around with friends, chatting about your favorite movies from childhood. Science fictions movies can be comedic, give commentary on society, terrify us with technology run amok, and the film shows love to all of it.