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While Tomorrowland took a tepid photo finish victory during the Memorial Day weekend with $40.7 million over Pitch Perfect 2, the film, itself, was an immense awe-inspiring injection of optimism. However, one intended key piece of exposition in an animated sequence from Pixar was actually cut from the film. Now, that scene jumps from the cutting room floor to see the light of day online. Check it out in all its humanitarian glory!
Director Brad Bird would call attention to the posting of this nixed scene. Bird, who made his name with animated epics like The Iron Giant and The Incredibles before moving to the live-action blockbuster arena, initially sought to integrate this Pixar-procured piece into Tomorrowland. However, if you’ve already seen the film, then, for the most part, it’s not telling you anything you don’t already know. That’s because Bird ultimately decided to explore this angle with a bit more brevity. As production designer, Scott Chambliss tells The New York Times on Bird’s decision to cut the sequence:
It’s a great cartoon, and we all loved doing it. But it stopped the movie dead, according to Brad.
In lieu of the animated detour, Bird would instead opt to have George Clooney’s Frank Walker directly explain the story of Tomorrowland’s conception to Britt Robertson’s Casey Newton amongst mannequins of its visionary Plus Ultra founders, Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. From the aspect of expediting the flow of a film, the move makes sense. Yet, one might compare the animated explanation to the successfully-utilized "Dino DNA" film that was shown to the test patrons in Jurassic Park. However, that sequence managed to work because it never withdrew the audience from the characters as we were able to gauge their reaction to the exposition.
Amongst the film’s aesthetically-inclined array of futuristic tropes like jetpacks, robots, time-jumping and interdimensional travel, the encompassing theme points to the preservation of optimism and the rejection of a fatalism fixated on a self-fulfilling bleak future. The malleability of fate, which it claims to be shaped by child-like imagination becomes a central concept. The animated short, by virtue of its energy and immediacy, effectively emphasizes this point. Thus, while it's understandable from a practical standpoint why it was cut, it could be argued that the concept feels more powerful and poignant in the animation than it does being conveyed in some simple dialogue.
Regardless, Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, while dividing audiences, does manage to showcase its premise and visuals as a spectacularly stunning tribute to the human spirit and its perpetually unrealized potential to achieve some type of Utopian existence. You may find yourself wanting some French toast to dip in to the sweet sap that it’s exuding, but it makes for an acceptable family-friendly outing.