Thursday, October 17, 2013

Escape From Tomorrow


(2013) ****


Jim should be having a great time because he is about to spend the day at Disney World.  While taking in the view from the balcony of his Contemporary Resort Hotel room he receives a phone call informing him that he is terminated from his job.  Keeping this devastating news to himself he takes his family to the Magic Kingdom including his cute-as-a-button daughter, oppositional son and shrewish wife.

Throughout the course of the day Jim begins to decompensate.  Characters on the famous rides appear demonic and he becomes obsessed with two teenage French girls who he avidly stalks around the park.  Along the way he hooks up with a “witch” who cryptically warns him about straying too far from his comfortable life.  Once in EPCOT he is separated from his family, captured by corporate thugs and learns the dark secrets of Spaceship Earth.



Although not always cohesive Escape From Tomorrow seems to be tackling a few large themes.  First, the story might be viewed as the ultimate midlife crisis.  Director Randy Moore wisely sets his story in the “happiest place on Earth”.  Jim seems to be re-evaluating his life.  Losing his job strips him of part of his identity and his wife is portrayed as an unbearable, bitchy companion.  Consequently he is tempted by the forbidden fruit of teenage girls while imbibing like a frat boy. 


Escape From Tomorrow also seems to be a comment on Disney World itself.  When you step into Disney World it is easy to forget that it is not real.  Anything seems possible and everything is magical when you visit the Disney parks.  In Escape From Tomorrow we see the dark underbelly of the “happiest place on Earth” and are reminded that beneath the “magic” is a corporation that constantly taps into the minds of its customers in order to manufacture future “fun” for the bottom line.


I love Disney World and most recently visited it 3 years ago with JSP and family.  We stayed at the Contemporary Resort Hotel (the best place to stay because it is a 5 minute walk to the gates of the Magic Kingdom) and rode all the rides featured in the film.  I have some difficulty critically evaluating this movie because I’m biased.  It was a hoot just to see the characters walk around places I’ve walked around and even go into gift shops that I’m familiar with.  Escape From Tomorrow is a surreal trip that is worth taking.

9 comments:

Catfreeek said...

I feel like I need to watch this just to give an unbiased opinion since the one and only time I went to Disney World was when I was 14 years old and virtually remember nothing about it.

Crystal Math said...

Great review! There is definitely a lot to dig deep on with this one. I think that Disney is such a complex issue, one you get to unfold at each stage in your life. The childhood happiness, the bitter realization that it's all fake, the obligatory trip to appease others, and finally complacency as you realize you can't do anything to change its image or its meaning for others.

Regardless -- having never been to Florida I will have to pick up some MM ears one of these days at Disney World.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Nice review JPX! I knew you'd love this movie. I'm glad it lived up to your expectations.

DCD said...

Cool! This seems to be the one to watch this year. We stayed at the Contemporary when we went to Disney when I was six. Good memories!

Octopunk said...

I think I need to see this. Disney is, as Crystal says, a complex issue. I don't have any bitterness associated with its fakeness because my fave Disneyland memories are as an adult (a few days before my friends' wedding a group of ten of us hit the Happiest Place on Earth in a state of extreme non-sobriety).

I thought "decompensate" was a typo but it's shrink-speak. Shoulda known!

AC said...

so i'm guessing the mental illness component isn't a detractor for you, jpx? so hard to get right on film.

JPX said...

AC, Escape From Tomorrow does an excellent job depicting a psychotic break - you need to check it out!

Landshark said...

Yeah, I gotta see this just to check out how the guy was able to pull it off. I read that Disney seems to be choosing not to sue him because that would only create more of a story than they want.

Anonymous said...

That was a great review! More like a verbal "trailer" than simply a review! I must see it!! Just discovered this blog at the advice of a friend, and it's so informative and exactly what I'm looking for!! Thank you for blogging!!