The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
The End of the World is Nigh
Mankind survived the last ice age. We're certainly capable of surviving this one. All depends on whether or not we're able to learn from our mistakes? - Jack Hall
Hollywood is renowned for jumping on the proverbial band wagon, picking up on anything current and churning out a movie or two which aim to entertain whilst also playing on people's fears. So a few years ago when global warming was new and the hot topic of the day, it was no surprise that Hollywood tackled this weighty issue with the big budget "The Day After Tomorrow". Except instead of actually tackling the issue, making a movie which really focussed on the problem, they did their usual job of using it for the basis of an over the top, effects laden blockbuster which although is fundamentally entertaining is a pretty dumbed down disaster movie.
When a sudden change in the temperature of the world's oceans causes horrific storms and sets a new Ice Age in motion, climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid – The Rookie) is faced with not only trying to come up with a solution but also facing a race against time to get to his teenage son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal – Zodiac), who is stuck in the sub zero climes of New York.
It really shouldn't be a shock that "The Day After Tomorrow" is such a silly movie that is far more interested in dazzling with big effects rather than story as at the directional helm is Roland Emmerich whose track record includes wiping out Los Angeles in "Independence Day", reeking destruction through New York in "Godzilla" and watch out for his new movie, an apocalyptical tale called "2012". Emmerich doesn't really do small, so causing over the top mass destruction with the weather is really no surprise.
Actually the fact that "The Day After Tomorrow" is pretty much all visual extravagances may not be a bad thing, as the storyline is pretty limp. For a movie which theoretically should be focussing on global warming it pays little attention to the subject. It feels like the early part of the story where climatologist Jack Hall realises that the earth's climate is spiralling out of control is on fast forwards in the attempt to get to the action and effects laden sections. Once these early scenes are shoved out the way "The Day After Tomorrow" falls into a pretty much routine action formula, although also being a natural disaster movie there are no bad guys. It is quite sad that any political message which the movie tries to deliver is wasted and is lost amongst a range of cheesy dialogue.
Even though the plot is pretty much an excuse for action and has more holes than a Swiss cheese, it would be hard not to say that "The Day After Tomorrow" is very impressive when it comes to the visual effects. From tornados flattening Los Angeles to the sea engulfing New York there is plenty going on through out the movie even if it is so ridiculous it becomes laughable. But then "The Day After Tomorrow" is not about being realistic, it is about wowing you with more bigger, better visual effects than you can throw a bucket at.
Sadly the acting in "The Day After Tomorrow" is nothing more than predictable and typical of the genre. There is nothing remarkable from any of the main players, be it Dennis Quaid as Jack Hall, Jake Gyllenhaal as his ultra brainy son or the delightful Emmy Rossum as sort of love interest Laura Chapman. But then you don't expect award winning performances when they are given un-original and cliché riddled dialogue.
What it boils down to is that "The Day After Tomorrow" is your pretty much typical modern take on a disaster movie, except the disaster involves the whole world instead of being located in just one place. Other than some stunning special effects there is very little to be impressed with especially if you were expecting the movie to pay much more reverence to the issue of global warming/ climate change. My advice is to take "The Day After Tomorrow" for what it is, a Hollywood big budget, band wagon movie.
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