From the looks of the trailer of “Escape from Tomorrow”, first-time writer/director Randy Moore seems to explore the implications of mass media consumption by following a family’s trip to Disney World through a colourless, surreal, and psychedelic aesthetic. Unfortunately, any subversive text was lost in a mumble-jumble of a story, with no help from stale (and unknown) actors playing staler characters. The movie is a complete trip, not only because of its creative presentation but because you’re left wondering what monstrosity you’ve just sat through.
“Wow…It’s a giant testicle”
The film, whose title lacks any significance, focuses on Jim, a typical family man on vacation at Disney World with his wife and two children. The film opens with Jim getting fired from his job, a fact he initially hides from his wife so the family can enjoy their last day at the theme park. Once there, Jim notices and becomes infatuated with two Parisian teenage girls. Upon going on some ride, Jim experiences the happy-go-lucky Disney figures turning sinister for a few seconds. His son’s eyes turn completely black, his wife tells him she hates him and he is not the father of their children. All of this is in his mind, of course, and then acts like nothing happened.
Amidst all these disturbing rides with his family, he constantly sees these two Parisian teens. One of which he eventually speaks to for about 3 seconds. When she asks him to follow her, he refuses, believing something bad will happen if he does. He then notices his daughter missing, and gets kidnapped by Disney employees (?) when he goes looking for her. He awakens inside the Epcot theme park where a German scientist begins looking inside his imagination for some reason. Jim eventually escapes and cuts off the scientist’s head, revealing that he was a robot.
“You can be a host and you wouldn’t even know it”
There’s much more to the “story” but there is not one scene that has any relevance to any other scene that I will spare you the details. Let me just go on record and say that I was extremely excited for this movie, it looked really experimental and I was eager to see a genuine indie movie. The cast and crew did not tell Disney they were filming a movie on the premises, thus keeping production very discreet by using handheld cameras. I was devastated by the outcome of this film. I waited for these two girls to not only speak to Jim or vice-versa, but also to understand their overarching relevance to Jim’s surreal experience or the film, overall. This did not happen. The last we see of those two are near the end of the film where everyone (minus Jim) are holding hands around the Epcot in some sort of ritual. I was also excited for the explanation of why Jim was experiencing what he was. Was it catalyzed by his job loss? Or by the fact his wife wants no physical contact with him? I have no idea.
The only positive aspect of this film was its aesthetic. Formally speaking, it is a nicely filmed movie. The music was reminiscent of Disney films, and it added to the fact that the movie was filmed and set at Disney World. Other than that, there were no redeeming qualities. The story was so convoluted and the script so amateur that this film became more of a mess as time went on; and you only realize it once you sit through the whole damn thing.
“I was trying to help you”
I’ll explain a few other scenes to prove my point. After Jim kills the robot scientist, he finds his daughter was kidnapped by a Disney employee who played princesses in the past, but who has inexplicably become a real witch(?) Earlier in the film, Jim takes his son to the infirmary, where a nurse breaks down crying, telling them they should get vaccinated for something called Cat Flu, where you can be a host and you wouldn’t even know it. This scene had nothing to do with the rest of the movie until Jim realizes he has Cat Flue and experiences explosive diarrhea and vomiting. Jim may have had a bad time at Disney World, but I had a worse time watching this movie.
I think you’ve gotten the gist of my overall thoughts of this film. Don’t bother with this film. I would consider hiring Moore as a director but as a writer…I’ll pass. I don’t understand if Moore was truly trying to say something important about the state of modern society or whatever it was he was trying to say, or he just wanted to make a cool looking movie at Disney. In the latter regard, I’d say it was successful. But by no means should he charge people to see this movie, it should be the other way around.