A film famous for being shot without permission at Disneyworld this guerilla film shows just can be achieved; but along the way becomes distracted by its own gimmicks.


Escape From Tomorrow is often called the ultimate guerilla film, as it was shot almost entirely in the Disneyworld/Disneyland resorts without any sort of permission, and the result is a film that is technically fantastic (considering the circumstances) and reasonably entertaining. The problem is that the story is a jumble sale of ideas and the characters change personality on a whim.


I’m sure that when he wrote the film, director Randy Moore had a message he wanted to say about Disney; in fact I’m certain he had several. The problem is he tries to portray all of them together. Is the film about returning to one’s younger days and dream fulfillment? Is it about a huge corporation creating a seemingly ‘happy place’ which has secret undertones of moral corruption? Is it simply about a man having a psychotic break forced on my illness?


Simply put the film is about all of these and none of them at the same time. None of the messages the film tries to portray stick as it decidingly changes tone as quickly as the characters move from ride to ride. This muddled message though does not stop the film from being thoroughly entertaining. Following a family day out to the park, the father of the family steadily has a mental breakdown – firstly by seeing demons on the children in ‘It’s A Small World’ (my personal favourite scene), then by stalking two French teenagers before finally reaching breaking point at the Epcot centre. The whole idea of a man having a breakdown and looking for a younger woman feels like American Beauty done badly; with angry comments by the wife thrown in to try and give it some spine.


This said the opening hour of the film, despite its inconsistencies feel as if it’s building to something and that everything will tie together… that’s why its such a shame that a ridiculous final act ruins everything. With tension and confusion well mounted the film falls into the trap that a lot of small indie films do it stretches its ended too far and ends up farcical and forced.

The style of the film though is wonderful and as you watch you wonder how some of the shots could have been achieved without being caught and just how many times they went to the park in order to make the film what it is, and for me that is the problem. I spent more time wondering how they managed to get a certain shot and debating about aspects of it’s production than I did enjoying the film. The film is definitely worth watching if you’re a fan of independent or guerilla films, but those who call it a modern masterpiece are stretching themselves too far. Take away the lack of rights and all you have is a film that is odd, intriguing but mediocre.


Escape from Tomorrow, does show what can be created in a world where camera equipment is getting forever smaller and it is a film like this that will inspire other filmmakers to see what is possible and possibly make the next classic.