After I sat down and watched this film, I decided to get online and read a few reviews. Interestingly, people are mostly very adamant about either loving it or hating it…I didn’t find too many reviews that were neutral. I can see why some might balk at the idea of this film; after all, it basically ‘attacks’ a wonderland that is dubbed ‘the happiest place on Earth’. But what many of the naysayers may not realize is that the movie is a parody, and it is not meant to be taken literally. This is even discussed in a ‘Making Of’ featurette in the Special Features. I personally loved the film, and I’m recommending everyone out there give it a shot, if anything to see what all of the discussion is about.
If you are not familiar with ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Cinedigm website:
An epic battle begins when a middle-aged American husband and father of two learns that he has lost his job. Keeping the news from his nagging wife and wound-up children, he packs up the family and embarks on a full day of park hopping amid enchanted castles and fairytale princesses. Soon, the manufactured mirth of the fantasy land around him begins to haunt his subconscious. An idyllic family vacation quickly unravels into a surrealist nightmare of paranoid visions, bizarre encounters, and an obsessive pursuit of a pair of sexy teenage Parisians. Chillingly shot in black and white, Escape From Tomorrow dissects the mythology of artificial perfection while subversively attacking our culture’s obsession with mass entertainment.
As an independent filmmaker myself, I have to tip my hat to director Randy Moore. He shot the film guerrilla-style inside of Disneyworld and Disneyland, and as a result, was able to achieve a monumental feat. If you are not familiar with the word, ‘guerrilla’ in terms of filmmaking basically means he didn’t have permission to use the location or images he was filming. He and his team bought tickets to the parks and then quickly shot their scenes amidst all of the visitor chaos. The finished product is a remarkable testament to working hard to chase a dream.
ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW is shot surprisingly well, considering most of the footage was obtained using Canon DSLR cameras. I am impressed with the lack of shakiness in each scene, especially those filmed on the rides. This makes the movie so much more enjoyable and allows the audience a deeper immersion into the film.
The acting is very good as well. Roy Abramsohn and Elena Schuber do a great job as the bickering parents, but the kids really steal the show for me. Katelynn Rodriguez and Jack Dalton portray the couple’s two children, and they do an excellent job with their roles. Granted, they are not the focal point of the film, however they are involved in almost every key part and do a phenomenal job as such. I particularly commend Dalton, for this is his first movie role (if his IMDB page is correct).
But the dreamlike story is what wins me over with ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW. Describing this film as ‘trippy’ certainly does not do it justice, but that’s exactly what it is. There are moments in this film where you don’t know whether to hide your eyes or rewind what you just saw. Certain elements of the plot play off of urban legends related to Disney, while other pieces are simply just way out there. But regardless of where the bizarreness comes from, it definitely entertains.
ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW is a big win for me, and I suggest you give it a look. Be ready to either love it or hate it, though…and make sure you can back up your decision because it is a good bet you’ll be asked if the film ever comes up in discussion. It will be available next week.