Dolby and Moonbot Studios’ Escape is a psychedelic combination of Home and Moana. The personable character of Home is paired with the villainous, petrifying neon colors of Moana’s Tamoata (although Escape’s villain is much more conventionally terrifying). The upbeat soundtrack complements the euphoric colors of the film but displaces the tense tone, so much so that you’re not sure whether to smile or hide under the covers. Either way, you’re on the edge of your seat.
The storyline is simple: a heroine tries to make a new planet habitable. At first, all we see is a caramel colored girl in futuristic armor drudging through a red planet. Her entire journey is seen in her tired blinks- she has traveled an arduous path.
The heroine never utters a word, but we know exactly what is happening because of the incredibly detailed facial expressions. The animation is so detailed that the individual hairs in her eyebrows are distinguishable. The colors of the film are as vivid and trance-like as a night rave, thanks to Dolby Vision.
The plot of the story leaves some major holes. How she got to the planet is unknown; neither is it known how long she’s been on this new planet. Whether she’s even on a new planet at all is left up for debate. All these details are included in the film’s synopsis and not the film itself.
What is lacking in thorough story-telling is made up for in the exceptional sound design and animation. The sound for the film was developed using Dolby Atmos, a cutting-edge audio technology. It shows. Everything from the cracks of the broken crystals, to the heroine’s feet hitting the dirt is audible. Imogen Heap and Nick Ryan created such a seamless mix of score and soundtrack that where the score ends and the song begins is unclear. This blend of sound makes you feel as if you are there next to the heroine.
The film is so visually and audibly immersive that the plot doesn’t become important until the second or third watch. Perhaps it never was. It’s clear that the real passion of the film was to showcase Dolby’s visual and sound design technology, and it does so spectacularly.