Now I know why I never trusted Mickey in the first place. That sneaky, motherfucking mouse.
Sometimes, some days are just crappy, so you got to suck it up and take your family to Disneyland. As simple as that. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Jim White (Roy Abramsohn) who seems to be having one of the worst days of his life already; starting off with a dismissive call from his boss, getting locked out of his hotel room by his son and the worst pain of all, his wife being angry at him. So yeah, Jim knows that today is going to suck, but something feels different today than most other days. In fact, something weird seems to be going on with this day that he doesn’t really take notice to until he shows up to Disneyland, and starts imagining bad, terrible things that may or may not be happening in front of his own very eyes. Then again, in the Most Magical Place on Earth, the line between reality and fantasy is sometimes blurred.
By now. it seems like everybody knows the story behind the making of Escape From Tomorrow, but if not, here it is for you, in as simple of terms as I can put it. Basically, director Randy Moore was able to get his cast of five or six or so, and film on the grounds of Disneyworld without getting caught, nor getting any permission to do so by Disney Co. themselves. And in case you don’t know by now, either, but Disney can be some tough a-holes when it comes to who films on their grounds, why and how they’re represented. Which is why as negatively this movie represents the place as being, it’s a shock to see that Disney hasn’t really thrown any lawsuits around their way.
One theory is that Disney doesn’t want to associate themselves with the movie to bring any more press or notoriety to it than it already has, which is pretty smart on their part. Another theory is that Disney thinks that the movie isn’t all that good to begin with, so why even before making a huge stink over something so amateurish to begin with. I most likely believe this theory, even if it is only a theory inside of my own mind. Nonetheless, it’s still a theory to think about!!
From an aspiring filmmaker’s stand-point, I have to give Moore plenty of credit for having the balls to actually go through with being a sneaky mouse and filming in Disneyworld. This seemed like no easy-feat, and as the stories begin to come out more and more, apparently there were a certain amount of problems that amounted to getting caught red-handed, or coming very close to being caught. Either way, Moore took a big leap of faith with this approach and it pays off well not only because it puts you right in the place itself, but because some of the best material he has here works when it’s just him poking fun at Disney itself.
The whole consumerist idea behind Disney and the people who go there is definitely a thought that’s front-and-center throughout most of the film. While Moore does play around with ideas of unnatural and ghost-like happenings that sometimes come completely out of left-field, the reasoning why Moore had his movie take place in Disney still stays in the back, letting you know that there is more to this material than just iconic Disney figures doing some creepy things. And even then, they’re still somewhat effective, mostly because the B-movie look and feel of the movie actually places you in a slight sense of reality that feels like you’re thrown into this dream-like world with this guy and his family.
However, once Moore does begin to step away from the satire of his story, and pay more attention to the story itself, the movie begins to fall apart due mainly to its whole gimmick losing shock-appeal. You can tell that most of Moore’s budget lied solely on getting in-and-out of Disneyworld itself, which makes sense why most of this movie takes place away from it; like in places such as numerous hotel rooms, bathrooms and in front of some terribly-looking green-screens. Yes, I do understand that Moore may have not had a lot of money to complete his vision to perfection, but that’s no excuse for giving us something that looks like it could have been made alongside the likes of Birdemic. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too harsh, but you get my point.
It’s also not even the fact that the movie looks cheap, because once the novelty wears thin, so does the story itself. You don’t ever quite care for this dude or the things that he chooses to do, which is why when all of this nutty stuff starts to happen to him, it seems less like reasonable twists and turns, and manipulative/obvious ways for Moore to coax us into thinking that this movie is different from any other fantasy-piece out there. But, aside from the grainy black-and-white, the shooting on and inclusion of Disneyworld, there’s not much else that we haven’t seen before. A lot of it will most likely leave you scratching your head, for better, but for worse, it will just have you uninterested since Moore never seems to have a full-focus on what he wants to do with his story. So, instead, he just throws at us whatever his budget can promise and leaves it at that.
Gets old after awhile, and begins to just seem like another case of “cool idea, lame execution”. Starting to see a lot more of them come around now, and not liking it one bit.
While most of this movie was probably made on the whim with whatever they could fly with, the actors seem like they are at least trying and aren’t as crappy as you’d expect. Roy Abramsohn does a nice job as Jim, and since this is pretty much his own story, it’s worth watching because while he does do some questionable things throughout the movie, he at least always stays entertaining. Don’t know how much of this rehearsed, or whatever came natural to him right on the spot, but either way, he’s fun to watch and I feel like if people give this a couple years or so, we’d start accepting him in other roles for bigger movies. You know, movies that AREN’T illegally shot.
Consensus: Like most low-budget films of its same nature, Escape From Tomorrow presents a neat idea, but executes it in a poor way that will wish they had more money just to give us a more-defined version of a promising story.
5.5 / 10 = Rental!!