What happens when you discover a future that remains, resolutely, in the future? Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude's "General Magic" documentary looks at a launch of Silicon Valley as in began the early 1990s exactly the world we lived in today. The developers, designers and engineers of General Magic worked on terms such as e-commerce, touchscreens, animated emoticons, and especially a smartphone that would contain the world.
But the company, an Apple Spinoff ] eventually became enchanted because it couldn't exploit the present, as its visionaries overlooked things like the rise of free internet. (A General Magic developer had a small side project that would be eBay ̵
Kerruish himself was hired in 1992 to produce a promotional video for General Magic, which resulted in a wealth of valuable archive films. The film depicts the living spirit's inventive spirit and today's interviews with key people – many of which went to important roles in Google, Adobe and elsewhere – making it clear that their time at General Magic was instrumental in their later successes.  The film romanticizes this era quite a lot, and especially in later stages, it rests heavily on screaming drone shots and melancholy music to convey the heart of the company's failure. While aesthetically pleasing, such moments can also feel like fillers. "General Magic" is engaging, but it's a tougher, closer movie here in battle to get out.
Not rated. Driving time: 1 hour 30 minutes.