Movie Review: Vintage Tomorrows

Vintage TomorrowsVintage Tomorrows, a new documentary by Byrd McDonald, examines the steampunk movement’s explosive growth, origins, and cultural significance. It explores the fundamental question: what can we learn about tomorrow from steampunk’s playful visions of yesteryear?

“Steampunk” started as a sub-genre of science fiction typified by a fascination with steam-powered machinery and alternative histories, with stories frequently set in Victorian England. Today, Steampunk has grown into an aesthetic movement all its own, with influence in art, fashion, design and music.

Vintage Tomorrows examines the subculture via interviews with the writers and artists credited with galvanizing the movement, and the cultural historians and social scientists investigating the phenomenon. The documentary analyzes the spike in Steampunk cultural activity and poses the question: What can Steampunk tell us about history, humanity and our complicated relationship with technology?

My understanding of steampunk is having read some comics, seen some movies, and the numerous booths that dot conventions around the country. My view was limited. Enter this film which not only provides a great introduction to the genre and culture, but also challenges the viewer to think about that culture at the same time.

McDonald presents a welcoming community that loves to tinker, build, and learn. They also seem to a very positive community, even with issues presented by the culture itself. McDonald explores that and more, worts and all. But, the documentary also waxes philosophical and looks into what steampunk can mean for the world.

McDonald teaches, engages, and shows a community that comes off as positive and welcoming, looking towards the past to figure out our future.

Overall rating: 9