The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

reviewed by
Karina Montgomery


The Day After Tomorrow
Rental With Snacks

While it may seem crazy (and credibility-shaking) for me to admit

that I had much more fun watching this movie than I did watching

Shrek 2, bear with me while I explain. Obviously, this is a bang up

Memorial Day action film, and as such it deserves to be viewed and

enjoyed on its own merits, to wit: does it go bang, and do we care?

Yes, indeedly it does go bang; the only fault I have with the

bangmaking is that they blew too many moneyshots with the ad

campaign. Ah well. As for caring, well, by action movie standards,

it was just fine.

I saw this film with people who were more scientifically picky than

I, and while the general consensus was that while no way would these

disasters snowball so rapidly, the actual effects were pretty cool

(with pretty OK science) and the cautionary message was an important

one. As with any sensible action movie, the complex Discovery

Channel bits are downplayed in favor of quick glossing of the general

facts for public consumption and comprehension. The movie then

instead relies on crazy, sensational, and non-scientific disasters to

further the plot! Unacceptable! Ooh, but look, how cool. (Claps

politely) Each set piece is good, clean apocalyptic fun, and that's

what I paid to see.

Oh sure, tornadoes don't climb canyons, and yeah, the flash freezing

is a bit suspect. Why, oh why did they cut out what was clearly

going to be the coolest sequence in the film? (Not to give it away,

but let's just say, "Mr. Vice President, I have good news and bad

news.")

The theme is of course "global warming is bad" since that's the

inciting sin that brings about this eco-armageddon, but a subtler

(and more rewarding) undercurrent is the condemnation of

anti-intellectualism. "What? Book-larnin' as action hero! In a

summer movie?" Ah, so grasshopper. Anyone with brain and a heart is

rewarded here, and courage as well - but the movie's romance is with

staying informed and being conscientious. Hevane help us but I hope

it sinks in.

The other thing this movie does is (unwittingly or not) evoke all the

great disaster movies all at once, which is a feat writer/director

Roland Emmerich can be proud of. Twister, Titanic, Earthquake, The

Stand, 28 Days Later, The Poseidon Adventure, The Thing, Alive,

Cliffhanger, even a dash of Vanilla Sky, for flavor. This becomes a

fun game of either "Peg the Homage" or "Name that Knockoff" if you're

of a mind to play it.

Weaknesses? There are quite a few of course. Well, what's happening

in the rest of the United States? Or the other ravaged countries

(ravaged, of course, by US consumption)? The eastern seaboard gets

all the glory. Significantly, what ending can we possibly hope for?

It's not an acute sickness, global warming. It's a cumulative,

chronic problem. Sure, we can try to svave Jake Gyllenhaal today,

but then what? Eventually, the Gutenberg Bible will also succumb,

and then where will we be?

The effects are very well done, the people don't insult you by

talking, and the movie theatre is air conditioned. It's win-win.

-- 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These reviews (c) 2004 Karina Montgomery. Please feel free to

forward but credit the reviewer in the text. Thanks. You can

check out previous reviews at:

http://www.cinerina.com and http://ofcs.rottentomatoes.com - the

Online Film Critics Society

http://www.hsbr.net/reviews/karina/listing.hsbr - Hollywood Stock

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