I’m going to try my best to set my love of Disney World aside while reviewing this film, but I have to begin by saying that it’s sad that any person could have this much cynicism toward something that has brought joy to millions of families. In concept, “Escape from Tomorrow” is incredible. It took immeasurable planning to execute this production. Director Randy Moore had to rehearse the film without setting foot on location, chart the position of the sun on the filming days to harness the natural lighting for each scene, use cameras that would be used by typical tourists, and he managed to successfully shoot this film in Disney without drawing the suspicion of the employees. The concept alone could have elevated this film into the mainstream and even attracted the attention of the Disney Company to buy and distribute the film; however, as soon as they decided to create a story filled with sex, nudity, profanity, and a plot that nobody can seem to make sense of, it relegated itself to the status of “cult classic” forever. As a Disney fan, I loved the idea of a guerrilla-style film created entirely in the parks but the plot is sure to turn away anybody who shares my fondness for Disney World (a.k.a. the majority of our society). Not to mention that they didn’t even film the entire thing in the parks. It was easy to see that some of this was filmed using green screen and alternate sets outside of Disney. If the success of this movie hinges on the gimmick that they entire thing was filmed in Disney, why include plot elements that had to be filmed elsewhere? They could have made a family-friendly thriller or even a horror film that made sense… but instead they created a Disney-bashing surrealist journey that concludes with a plot twist that seems to be intentionally random, stupid, and unexplained. It’s like ending “The Shawshank Redemption” with Morgan Freeman moving to Tallahassee to become a racecar driver who can only drive in reverse. Where did the cat flu come from? Many critics have ignored the flawed plot in lieu of the impressive production challenges but, if this had been filmed in some random mall, everybody would be ripping it apart because the story is stupid. In fact, we would have never even heard of it. Although it bothered me that they interspersed scenes shot at Disney World and Disneyland, I believe that it was an intentional way of indicating to Disney fanatics that we were not watching reality. I also have to admit that the CGI and editing was really impressive. I like that this film features Fantasyland before the expansion and preserves rides like Snow White’s Scary Adventure, but it isn’t as if this is something that anybody can share with their kids anyways. “Escape from Tomorrow” is impressive for its covert production but, love for Disney World aside, I can’t help but wonder why many people are praising a film with a weak plot and a nonsensical resolution.
[Pictured: Scenes from Disneyland are thrown in to make us question Jim's reality]