"The Day After Tomorrow"
Climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) declares at a
world conference that mankind's wasteful ways will
plunge the earth into a new Ice Age. His warnings are
ignored at the highest government levels until drastic
events like enormous hurricanes, fast dropping
temperatures and hail the size of boulders begin
happening around the world. As Jack predicted, the end
is near but nobody guessed that it would be "The Day
Roland Emmerich, as we all know, has a penchant for
the big special F/X extravaganza. "Independence Day,"
"Godzilla" and "The Patriot" are all bombastic,
large-scale adventure flicks that deal with
larger-than-life issues like alien invasion, a big
green monster and nasty British soldiers. Now,
Emmerich takes on man's stupidity and egotism and
turns Mother Nature against us in a huge way.
"The Day After Tomorrow starts off in suitable fashion
as the camera descends across a vast ice field in
Antarctica to a tiny American science station
literally in the middle of nowhere. Jack, with his
partners Jason (Dash Mihok) and Frank (Jay O. Sanders)
are burrowing for ice core samples that may give us
information about the Ice Age that gripped the earth
10,000 years ago. As Jason drills into the ice an
enormous crack appears and a chunk of the field, the
size of Rhode Island, breaks off, almost killing the
scientists. Jack takes his findings and fears to a
conference on global warming in New Delhi, India where
the head of the conference, American Vice-President
Becker (Kenneth Walsh), disregards the scientist, with
his unbelievable facts and figures, as a doom and
But, Jack may be on to something when reports come in
from around the world of bizarre weather-related
events. Snow falls for the first time in memory in New
Delhi; a monster hurricane the size of which has never
been seen forms near Australia; giant cyclones
devastate Los Angeles; massive bird migrations flee
south; huge temperature drops are recorded in the
North Atlantic; and, New York City is being inundated
by the sea.
As is the norm for Emmerich's epics, there is a human
story mixed in with this tale of global devastation.
Jack is estranged from his wife, Lucy (Sela Ward), and
their son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), due to his
workaholic ways. Sam is heading to Manhattan for a
scholastic competition and Jack, due to his
meteorological concerns, almost forgets to pick up his
son to take him to the airport. There is a rift
between the two that you know will be resolved in a
big way by the end of the movie. When Jack's dire
predictions come true, Sam is marooned in New York
with floods, tidal waves and plummeting temperatures
that brings the city to its knees. Jack, schooled in
dealing with harsh elements, vows to Sam that he will
come and rescue him.
This portion of "The Day After Tomorrow" smacks of
being derived from "Finding Nemo." Sam, standing in
for Nemo, gets himself into a pickle as he and a small
band of survivors barricade themselves from the
elements in the New York Public Library. (There is a
bit of political correctness as the survivors debate
the moral dilemma of burning books to keep warm. That
the real estate law books go first is one of the
little jokes interspersed through the drama.) As the
shivering troop struggles to stay alive, Jack and his
partners, Jason and Frank, load up their truck with
frigid weather gear and head off on their rescue
mission. They must traverse hundreds of miles in the
foulest weather, facing obstacles and death along the
way. Jack and Marlin (the dad in "Nemo" voiced by
Albert Brooks) have a lot in common.
The human-interest portion of "The Day After
Tomorrow," as you'd expect, takes a back seat to the
near seamless computer-generated effects. Massive
tornadoes ripping LA apart and tidal waves inundating
New York are just some of the realistic looking F/X
utilized to show what could be the end of the world.
Marry these with solid production design, by Barry
Chusid, and the result is a good-looking and
believable to watch adventure yarn.
The cast, of course, must play second banana to the
F/X monster, but, led by Dennis Quaid, they do a
yeoman's job of putting a human face on the proceeds.
Little plot devises used to make a heartfelt "story"
abound through "The Day After Tomorrow." A homeless
man and his loyal dog lend the their survival
instincts to the group huddling in the NY Library. Sam
and his friends must risk life and limb, with timber
wolves chasing them, to board an abandoned Russian
freighter (floating on the street of Manhattan, no
less) to find penicillin to save Sam's love interest,
Laura (Emmy Rossum). Laura is responsible for this
dangerous trek when she gashed her leg days before,
got infected and didn't tell anyone until they are
obliged to save her. Jack's ex, Lucy, a doctor in
Washington, DC, has a young cancer patient she must
care for against the odds. The president must decide
on whom to save and whom to let die. All the while, an
enormous assembly of storms plunges the northern
hemisphere into a frigid wilderness. There is the
usual happy ending.
I have never been a fan of Roland Emmerich films but
"The Day After Tomorrow" reps the best he has done to
date. It could have been shorter and less time spent
on some of the "human" elements, but it is a
well-crafted film that uses its F/X budget to good
advantage. Tent pole films like this may have big,
even wasteful budgets, but the money is up on the
screen here. Oh, yeah, the dog lives in this one. I
give it a B.
For more Reeling reviews visit www.reelingreviews.com
========== X-RAMR-ID: 37867 X-Language: en X-RT-ReviewID: 1284444 X-RT-TitleID: 1132625 X-RT-SourceID: 386 X-RT-AuthorID: 1488 X-RT-RatingText: B
The review above was posted to the
rec.arts.movies.reviews newsgroup (de.rec.film.kritiken for German reviews).
The Internet Movie Database accepts no responsibility for the contents of the review and has no editorial control. Unless stated otherwise, the copyright belongs to the author.
Please direct comments/criticisms of the review to relevant newsgroups.
Broken URLs in the reviews are the responsibility of the author.
The formatting of the review is likely to differ from the original due to ASCII to HTML conversion.
Related links: index of all rec.arts.movies.reviews reviews