Escape from Tomorrow: A Review from a Non-Reviewer

Disclaimer: I'm hesitant to say anything that I don't know first hand; so if you find somewhere that I'm talking out my ass, I'm sorry; I don't know anything about the production personally, just what articles say and word of mouth from other people not directly connected to the production. Otherwise, I just try to speak about my impressions and thoughts, so I don't spread false information; or worse, believe it myself.

I watched Escape from Tomorrow and though I may have been having a visceral opposing reaction to an unnecessarily critical article, I really loved the film.

At its core, the film gives indies hope. Sure, it's the same hope we always had; innovate in an astounding way and people will notice. In this case, illegal guerilla shooting inside Disneyland parks. Though not to short sell the accomplishment, which is a great one, it was probably easier to do before this film existed. But that's the innovation, and Randy Moore got to it first.

The article I mentioned above is an AlterNet editorial by Eileen Jones who claims Escape from Tomorrow is a 'snobby art film' or, at least, within that category. The entire article itself, and maybe I'm reading into this, seems to come off as bitter and dismissive; this is especially odd for a site that I typically enjoy their insightful and knowledgeable commentary into social issues. With Escape from Tomorrow, it seems like the writer took no time to try and do that, instead looking to rip apart every stylistic choice the director made.

Specifically, she ripped on the usage of effects which I argue cements and clarifies what is going on in the film; to make you feel what the character is feeling. She disliked the "ostentatious" usage of black and white; I argue black and white could have been used to prevent the audience from being distracted by the vibrant color world that is Disney.

The article writer seems so opposed to try to give anything in this film the meaning that was likely intended; to me, this film was a charged and emotional experience of a very recently fired, sexually neglected step father, horny, and constantly confronted with attractive, playful teenagers that make up a large demographic of Disneyland guests each day. In a theme park with an undying devotion to the idea of happy, he's anything but.

In general, Jones just seems spiteful to art films in general; the deeper meanings that you have to dig for. Or maybe she just doesn't empathize with the character; that's fair, but it's not a reason to write a long, hateful review of a filmmaker's hard work. A filmmaker that tried something bold and got noticed for it.

I think that accomplishment itself is worth uplifting, not tearing down. For filmmakers like myself, it's hope; if we try something, if we innovate, we might get a shot.

But I don't think I'm merely blinded by pride in a fellow filmmaker; I think Escape from Tomorrow is a great film full of meaning. I love films that take on social and consumerism-type issues and I feel like this film did that. From his son's growing acceptance of the long, unending lines but still preferring to wait, much to the chagrin of his impatient father, to the likely Sirens that the French girls represent; this film is deep with meaning.

I even would argue that I don't think the film took itself as seriously as Eileen Jones suggests with this hateful first line:
I’ve just seen the worst American film of my recent experience, called Escape From Tomorrow, and no one should be surprised when I say it’s an independent art film full of “meaning.”
No emphasis added there. She seems to attack the very concept of 'meaning' in film; as if they should all be crystal clear and require no thought or feeling from the audience. No, this isn't Pirates of the Caribbean; it's an art film about people that expands into a little bit of a thriller. It's something to bring your social consciousness into; you bring in your empathy; and you sit and you feel. That's the best way to enjoy a film like Escape from Tomorrow; feel it. Think of it as your own life if that helps.

I highly recommend seeing this film; it's my thought that filmmakers will come alive watching this. They'll feel, at the very least, what it was like to make this film; the stresses and the joys of watching magic happen. The magic of filmmaking.