Escape from Tomorrow Movie Review: Could Have Used More Imagination

Escape from Tomorrow tells the story of Jim White (Roy Abramsohn), whose trip to Walt Disney World with his family finds him descend into madness.  Shot on location with both Disneyland and Walt Disney World posing as one park, writer-director Randy Moore’s film is more notable for its production than its execution because the characters are unappealing and the story is rather goofy.

Before Jim heads into the park, his boss calls and informs he has lost his job.  Jim keeps the information to himself rather than spoil the family vacation, which he does inevitably.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to sympathize with Jim because he is revealed to be a terrible husband and father, even though his wife Emily (Elena Schuber) is shown to be a shrew and their children as pests.  He comes off like a big creep as he brazenly chases around underage French girls (Annet Mahendru and Danielle Safady), using his children to follow them on rides, like Elliot (Jack Dalton), whose previous nauseous experience on Space Mountain Jim ignores and is forced to relive.  Daughter Sara (Katelynn Rodriguez) gets treated no better.  Not only dies Jim’s inattentiveness result in her getting a scraped knee after a young boy knocks her down, she waits in a strange hotel room while Jim awakens to having sex with an unnamed woman (Alison Lees-Taylor).  Things get worse when Jim gets very drunk. 

Jim suffers odd hallucinations, such as happy faces on figures in the It’s a Small World ride turning evil, but it’s hard to know when they end as events get stranger and stranger and the story gets farther away from reality.  Jim finds himself detained under Epcot, the victim of magic, and leaving the park under drastic circumstances.  While the film hints at a story about corporate entertainment being villainous, it’s the selfish nature of Jim that is his own undoing but the film seems to give him a pass.

While the story of Escape from Tomorrow doesn’t work, the creation of it is impressive, as is the fact that the Walt Disney Corporation hasn’t tried to stop the film from being released.  With a limited budget and guerrilla tactics, Moore not only takes viewers into the parks but on rides as well.  The actors are so immersed in real locations the recognition may take certain viewers out of the moment.  Also, it’s distractingly obvious when they are shooting on a soundstage.  One problem for the filmmakers is all the adults and children whose likenesses appear in the film without consent.  If Escape makes any money, expect lawsuits if they haven’t started all ready.

It’s unfortunate the same determinedness that went into producing Escape from Tomorrow didn’t go into creating a better screenplay, a bare necessity for any film’s long-lasting success.  Still, it is worth seeing from the novelty aspect alone.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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