70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
Director Randy Moore filmed Escape from Tomorrow entirely at the Disney World and Disneyland theme parks. As he did not have permission to do so, he used meticulously planned guerrilla tactics in order to shoot the film without being caught. The actors kept the script on their iPhones. The crew used handheld cameras and dressed as park visitors. Scenes were blocked and rehearsed several times in hotel rooms before shooting, and dialogue was recorded using digital devices which were taped to the actors. The film was also shot in monochrome, in order to avoid lighting issues. No one ever suspected the cast or crew of foul play. In this respect, Escape from Tomorrow is an incredibly risky one of a kind achievement. Randy Moore was afraid that Disney would find out about his little experiment, and so he edited the film in South Korea. The film was released at Sundance, and word of mouth spread quickly.
Ultimately, the unorthodox history behind the making of the film would prove to be far interesting than the film itself.
Escape from Tomorrow tells the story of Jim White, who finds out that he has lost his job on the last day of his family vacation at Disney World. He decides to keep it to himself, so that his wife, his son, and daughter can have a fun time without all of the drama. As he and his family ride the monorail to the park, Jim catches sight of two young Parisian girls – two little Lolita’s that he will soon become obsessed with. Make no mistake, Jim is a disturbed man. While riding the “Small World” attraction, Jim begins to hallucinate. The cherub-faced animatronics begin to grow fangs, smiling evilly at Jim as he passes by. Later, Jim catches sight of the Parisian girls once again, and follows them to Space Mountain, where he forces his son to ride. After the kid gets motion sickness, Jim’s wife chastises him, and she takes the boy back to the hotel to recover. Jim takes his daughter to the Magic Kingdom, where the son of a creepy wheel-chair bound man pushes her to the ground, scraping her knee. Jim takes her to the nurse, who seems to be a bit disturbed and warns Jim of a mysterious “cat flu” that is going around the park. “You can be a host and not even know it,” she says.
For the rest of the day, Jim will continue to follow the Parisian girls, he will fall under the spell of an ex-Disney princess who is now an evil queen, and he will learn that the majority of the ever-smiling Disney Princesses at the park are actually expensive hookers who sell themselves to rich Japanese businessmen, while also becoming the target of an evil plot at Epcot’s Spaceship Earth which will purge him of his vivid imagination. Hallucinatory images are sprinkled throughout to give the film a surreal Lynchian feel, but these moments are fleeting – which is upsetting, because these are perhaps the most involving sequences in the film, as the bulk of the running time is dedicated to Jim’s tireless pursuit of those darned Parisian girls. These scenes are repetitive and dull – and honestly, Jim is a poorly written character. After a while, I was ready to get away from him.
And then there’s the “cat flu” sequence, which brought back memories of a certain toilet scene from Dumb and Dumber. After a few more slightly trippy scenes, the film ends in a bizarre fashion that doesn’t quite work, not even in the realm of avant-garde cinema. The trailer for Escape from Tomorrow would have you believe that this is one of the greatest films ever made, a psychedelic wonder the likes of which you have never seen before. At the end of the day, all that it really offers is weak social commentary on the inherent creepiness behind family theme parks, featuring the shenanigans of a Lester Burnham wannabe. The one saving grace in Escape from Tomorrow comes in the form of Abel Korzeniowski’s beautiful score.
I wanted to love this film. I really did. While there are some clever moments here, they never really add up to much. I wanted this film to take me to new heights, to restore my faith in the medium. It didn’t do any of those things. In fact, it’s all painfully, unforgivably ordinary.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2013
When I first heard about this I thought it was an amazing idea. I still think that. Filming much of a movie without Disney's permission on site is very clever. I disagree that it's particularly courageous/difficult (most scenes are not terribly long and without the number of people filming at Disney I'm not at all surprised somebody could pull this off); it's just something most people don't think of doing.
This is of course what gained the film notoriety and indeed is the only thing really of note. The rest of the movie is a combination of strange/silly/weird. Some of the green screen scenes made no sense, nor was I convinced that they had to be done on green screen (and the use of it was obvious, even though monochrome is more forgiving of green screen, I have to imagine).
I am really struggling to give this 3 stars, but will if only because the score of the film is decent enough, plus the aforementioned idea. The movie itself did not hold the weight of its hype, however.
45 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2013
This certainly isn't a film for everyone, but it's really more of an abstract piece than a narrative. For those that don't know about how the film was made, much of the footage was taken "under cover" at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland, including on actual rides. Just the fact that they were able to do this without Disney catching them is extraordinary when they had to do many takes of each scene, particularly on the rides (you will never see "It's A Small World" the same again!). It's also amazing that they were able to get this kind of image quality and look using nothing but natural lighting - anyone who knows anything about video can tell you that this is extremely difficult and admirable.
If you appreciate the Disney parks and have a quirky sense of humor, and appreciate more avant-garde film, it's a fun and interesting film. If you are looking for some Hollywood made horror film, you won't see it. Honestly, if you like the parks, just the neat park footage and again, particularly the on-ride footage (Snow White, Big Thunder, Mexico's boat ride, and Small World), is a treat - and the effects in "It's A Small World" finally make it the creepy ride we all know it really is, LOL. The amount of inside jokes and clever inserts (people on dang go-carts plowing through people in the park, what's really under Spaceship Earth, etc.) really make a big Disney park freak get a little extra, too.
This is a decisive film, either you get it, or you don't, either it's for you, or it isn't - it was for me, I really enjoyed it - and will definitely watch it again and show it to friends. Go in with realistic expectations and a love of avant-garde cinema, and it's a curious film to watch which I really don't regret purchasing. You may wish to rent instead if you aren't sure, but if I had just rented it I would have come back to buy it after because it really is very clever.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2015
Escape from tomorrow was one of those films that just left me feeling dirty. My wife and I are avid Disneyland pass holders, and we go 3-4 times a month, so seeing all the secretly shot scenes in the Disney Parks was pretty cool. Some complain that the acting was terrible, and while it certainly wasn't of Hollywood caliber, I challenge any of the negative critics to shoot any coherent scenes with the hustle and bustle of a Disney park. This film certainly felt like a B rate SyFy channel movie, but I was OK with that. The characters are certainly unlovable but I think that was the point. The husband/father is having a midlife crisis after losing his job, and has a nervous breakdown (which I have actually seen at Disneyland) which causes him to behave childishly and chase around two French girls who are obviously underage. Some people say he seems like a creepster, but to me he looked like a sexually frustrated man going through a paranoid episodic nervous breakdown. The mother/wife, though generally unlikable, just wants to have the idyllic Disney family vacation. She's not a shrew per se but is trying to enjoy her family vacation, with her husband having a midlife crisis, and her kids being generally impatient children. The kids were great, a few times I actually believed they could be actual park patrons. The whole family dynamic amounted to a believable family at Disneyland or Disney world. Yes the movie is slow paced and isn't really a horror flick as suggested, but the film maker managed to pull off an amazing feat by scuffing the squeaky clean Disney image, and also guerrilla filming in some clever ways. After the film, I felt dirty, like I had seen something that shouldn't have been seen, and it left me thinking, Long onto the next day. I recommend this for fans of indie films, disneyphiles, fans of cult movies, people who enjoy twisted views on generally clean ideas, and to anyone with the right set of eyes. This is like Fear and Loathing in Disney World, A Scanner Disney, a black and white view of a place normally so colorful you could walk away with a headache, and a view into the life of a family not unlike many american families. With the right set of eyes and a tolerance for slightly crappy acting, this movie is a gem. Four stars because I really didn't like some of the random characters, but overall an indie movie set in Disney World with a head full of acid and a sinister twist on reality.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2015
I admit it. The bad reviews had me so intrigued, I had to watch a little of this "movie". I hadn't planned on watching the whole thing but somehow I did. Knowing it was bad helped me get through the first part, ok midlife crisis yup got it, pervy older man following around 12 year olds with either one or the both of his kids in tow, cheats on his wife, going a bit delusional/paranoid, some things make no sense, bad acting, even worse cinematography check check check and more checks. Closing in on the ending got a bit weird but ok whatever I knew from reviews this was no intellectual philosophizing artsy film. But the very end was unnecessarily gross. And you can try and give me a reason like it was artistic or horror or dark humor or a strange roundabout social commentary of the world we live in today or some other made up reason. No, that scene was overly gross for the sake of being overly gross period. Completely unnecessary and made a bad film even worse. I have never been more glad to be a Prime member and was able to watch for free...even that was too much. Awful film.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2014
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.
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2014
This is absolutely THE WORST movie I have ever seen. Long. Boring. No plot. This is not artistic. This is ridiculous. And I don't care where they filmed it, it doesn't make it worth watching. Save yourself the hour and a half of your life. You will never get it back and you don't want to waste it on this film.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2015
Too bad there aren't any negative stars. While I find what Director Randy Moore tried to do, filming "Escape from Tomorrow" at the Disney World and Disneyland theme parks using guerrilla tactics as he did not have permission to do so, that admiration was not enough to forgive the bad acting, atrocious dialogue and lack of any true storyline. The movie was filled with sexual innuendos and scenes that strongly inferred pedophilia, as the protagonist follows two young girls around the theme park and daydreams about sex with them. The movie may fall within the fantasy genre, as well as soft porn, but not horror. While I do not feel it is necessary to have blood and guts (ala' "Saw" or "Final Destination") to be called a horror flick, there should be something that strikes fear in the protagonist at the minimum, and should be observed by the viewers. The so called 'cat flu' was apparently supposed to be the horror aspect but was just plain stupid. I literally had to force myself to finish this movie and was hoping to find something redeemable in it because of the filming tactics. But I couldn't, and that's an hour and forty-four minutes of my life that was totally wasted.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
`Escape From Tomorrow' is bold, brave, conceptually brilliant and hugely disappointing. I was aware that the movie started off with video shot from one of the Disneyworld rollercoasters ending in an apparent decapitation. I was curious to see how it was pulled off and was completely expecting a little CGI wizardry but what I wasn't expecting was how bad it would be done. The CGI was a blurry mess and the director foley'd in a ridiculous cartoon squish sound that ruined any creepiness. I saw that the reviews were average to poor but I really wanted to see the mixture of actual footage of Disneyworld and CGI. The dichotomy between Disneyworld and horror seemed irresistible but there is very little CGI and what there is is laughably amateurish. In another scene friendly faces on the `It's a Small World Ride' become distorted and angry but these are the kinds of cheap special effects any child appears to be able to do in a YouTube video.
If the film didn't have the distinction of using unauthorized video of Disneyworld it would have passed without notice. I am a fan of Disney and Disneyworld going back to my youth but I wouldn't have minded a little poke at the mouse and I watched it because that's exactly what I wanted to see. Instead, what I saw was a complete waste of some brilliant footage with lousy CGI very occasionally employed. This film had tremendous potential but it was wasted on weak acting and a plot that didn't seem to have any idea what it wanted. I hoped it might be like `They Live' where there is a very subtle undercurrent of menace on the periphery of our vision. Instead we get bad CGI and utterly ludicrous scenes. A lot of stuff was not filmed at Disneyworld including a scene where Asian Businessmen are groping complicit Disney princesses and it could have been effective but was done in an incredibly ham handed way and the non-Disneyworld scenes just don't integrate well with the Disney ones. The Disneyworld scenes are effective in their realism and then the other ones, such as the one where the main protagonist is in a secret lab under Spaceship Earth, feel like something out of a low rent Austin Powers movie and the menace evaporates.
Disney wisely chose to ignore the film rather than attempt to block its release. It's not worth the fuss and I think most viewers will start tuning out before the films ending. There are parts that are mesmerizing but they only serve to make the overall result that much more disappointing. This film reminds me of a moment from the 2010 Winter Olympics. An American snowboarder was well out in front poised to cement her place in Olympic history with a gold medal but instead decided to do a fancy little hop at the end and landed with a humiliating
36 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2013
This is without a doubt one of the worst movies I've ever seen. A laundry list of a few of the many things wrong with it:
First, the movie doesn't know if it's a horror movie or a psychological brain-teaser - it tries to be both, but ends up being nothing but a mess.
Hints of horror to come are found in the first half hour or so - a roller coaster decapitation in the beginning that happens so fast it can easily be missed, the son's eye's turning reptile-like for a few seconds, are a couple of them. But they lead to nothing and are never explained.
The plot is simple-minded yet ridiculous with gaps that defy any logical explanation except that the whole movie is supposed to be a nightmare. In fact, the movie's only strength - if you can call it that - is that the whole thing is such an incomprehensible mess that viewers can overlay whatever meaning they want on it.
Is it creepy at times? Yes, but not in an entertaining way. The dad is an unlikable, horny, stalking pervert who spends much of the movie following two barely-teen girls whose accents jump lamely between French and Brazilian Portuguese.
One of the most horrific things is the wife. She is a B-I-you-know-what. As unlikable as the husband, yet the film does a terrible job of exploiting the conflict between the couple.
Toward the end, the film tries to become a horror movie and fails miserably. The dad stumbles into a secret lab under Spaceship Earth run by the Siemens Corporation (an odd choice, other than they sponsor Spaceship Earth) and is subjected to having a model of Spaceship Earth built around his head - but like all the other "horror" it leads nowhere and the dad escapes unharmed.
For Disney-philes, the only redeeming feature may be to spot discrepancies in the Disney backdrop. For example, the family is supposedly staying at the Contemporary in the A-frame section, but the corridors in that section are open to an atrium on one side - the corridors they show are closed in. Also, the family swims in the Polynesian hotel's pool for some reason. There are others, but I don't want to spoil what is possibly the only enjoyable part of the movie.
In reading a non-Amazon review, supposedly the director had a nervous breakdown midway through filming. That would be the only possible explanation for a movie this awful.