Walt Disney’s vision of the future forms backdrop of Tomorrowland movie

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Walt Disney was a champion of science and technology and used his theme parks to promote the future. Photo: Walt Disney Studios/YouTube
Walt Disney was a champion of science and technology who used his theme parks to promote the future. Photo: Walt Disney Studios/YouTube

There was more to Walt Disney than Mickey Mouse. He was an obsessive futurist who used his theme parks to stage ideas of what a world filled with cutting-edge technology and the fruits of scientific ambition might look like.

The upcoming movie Tomorrowland is not only a nod to Disney, it re-imagines his vision with the full 21st-century CGI treatment of a world with robots, flying cars and towers reaching into the clouds.

A scene from the upcoming film Tomorrowland. Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/YouTube
A scene from the upcoming film Tomorrowland. Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/YouTube

It stars George Clooney as a disillusioned genius who is enlisted by a scientifically curious teenager who recruits him to take her on a dangerous mission to a futuristic world caught between space and time.

The plot of Tomorrowland, which was directed by two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird, has been under wraps since it was announced in 2012 but details that include the Disney influence have been trickling out and captivating sci-fi fans since the release of a teaser trailer in October.

The movie takes its name from the future-themed areas of five Disney parks. Some of the scenes were shot in two of the parks and Disney is mentioned by name in the film.

Walt Disney Studios released a video Wednesday on YouTube with Clooney, Bird and screenplay writer Damon Lindelof explaining the Disney legacy and its imprint on the film.

“In a modern world we see the influence science has on our daily lives,” Disney says in archival footage included in the video. “Many of the things that seem impossible now will become a reality tomorrow.”

Tomorrowland hits theaters May 22.