When you hear the words ‘fantasy’ and ‘Disney’ together, you definitely won’t think of what you’re about to see in this film.
Morphing nightmarish faces. Sexual perversions of giggly underage girls. Sci-fi benders of mind-controlling corporations. Until now, these elements had nothing in common with the Disney brand. Now, thanks to writer/director Randy Moore and his daring cast and crew, these things have all come together in a movie that you will not soon forget exists. Escape From Tomorrow is one of those movie’s you need to see to believe.
The most prominent water-cooler conversation that will arise from this film is likely to be that the majority of the movie was filmed inside the actual park of Disney World (and Land), without the House of Mouse’s knowledge. As a guerilla-shot feat, using prosumer aimed Canon 5D digital SLR cameras with minimal audio recording, the attempt is made (and achieved) to pull off a feature film production in the famed theme park. And yet…
Further propelling the film into buzz-worthy territory is the psycho-sexual dips into madness that beset the film’s narrative that manipulate the iconography of the theme park that we all know and love. When grouchy father Jim (Roy Abramsohn) takes his vacationing family to the Happiest Place on Earth, demons from his personal life slowly infiltrate the Magic Castle’s walls to find him, be it in the transforming evil faces of the international animatronics in It’s A Small World or in the very nude woman who appears on another ride.
Further propelling the film into buzz-worthy territory is the psycho-sexual dips into madness that beset the film’s narrative that manipulate the iconography of the theme park that we all know and love.
Included in its larger narrative is an even weirder plot of the park’s princesses as high-priced escorts, mysteriously threatening illnesses, and secret corporations controlling memories and happiness. I can only imagine work on Monday morning in Disney’s Legal Department when they heard about this movie.
Coming out of Sundance Film Festival earlier this January, the film became one of the must-see/must-talk-about films, even garnering rave reviews from the now deceased, legendary film critic Roger Ebert. However, nobody thought that Disney would let it out alive to find any chance of distribution for a larger audience to see.
There is so much to love about this movie. While as a “movie,” it might suffer from a semi-aimless structure, at least until the second half, when the crackpot craziness comes flying fast and hard. But I contend that this movie should be appreciated in its own right, as an entertainment experience that centers around its mythological production. Stellar black and white cinematography by director of photography Lucas Lee Graham and a wonderfully appropriate dark fantasy soundtrack composed by Abel Korzeniowski definitely lift the film, giving it a stronger cinematic experience.
Escape From Tomorrow should definitely be included on your films to see this year, as its very existence should alone be appreciated. A glorious achievement that would best play to midnight audiences looking for a fun B-grade alt-art movie, the film is sure to excite all audiences.
Well, maybe not for Mr. Mouse and company…