The Day After Tomorrow
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Day After Tomrrow can be found here.

When climatic changes, apparently the result of global warning, plunge the northern hemisphere into a new Ice Age, paleoclimatologist (a scientist who studies the ways weather patterns changed in the past) Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) treks from Washington D.C. to Manhattan in order to rescue his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is holed up in the New York Public Library with his friends Brian (Arjay Smith), Laura (Emmy Rossum), and J.D. (Austin Nichols). Meanwhile, the outside temperatures plummet to -150 degrees Fahrenheit, and northerners struggling to head south are freezing in their tracks.

The film The Day After Tomrrow was inspired by the book The Coming Global Superstorm, a 1999 fictional novel co-authored by Coast to Coast AM talk radio host Art Bell and American science fiction writer Whitley Strieber. Strieber also wrote the film's novelization. The screenplay was written by German film-maker Roland Emmerich (who also produced and directed) and American screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

The theory is based on the fact that the Gulf Stream and its northeastern extension, the North Atlantic drift, surrounds the North Pole with a circle of warm salt water that holds in the frozen Arctic air. The premise of the movie is that the North Atlantic drift is disrupted (due to the melting of the polar ice caps and dilution of the ocean waters), releasing a flood of frozen air. The result is a sudden temperature shift as the frigid air makes its way south, leading to softball-sized hail, tornadoes, snowstorms, and massive flooding all over the Northern Hemisphere.

That's not a's a catastrophic rise in sea level (slow moving tidal wave) caused by the disruption in the ocean's balance. Most tsunami are caused by earthquakes underwater that trigger a huge wave. However, there are no earthquake-causing fault lines anywhere near New York City.

Yes, normally it would eventually ebb when the water warms up and melts. But the whole point of the movie is that global warming has upset the ocean currents and triggered a new Ice Age. The snow is going to be there for a long time to come yet - say 10,000 years?

It was a Russian ship, probably in the New York harbor, and it drifted inland on the flood waters.

Hard to tell exactly why, because it was not depicted. During heavy storms, most people would be on call, attending watches in the engine room and bridges. It is implied something more sinister happened, i.e., that the crew members may not have abandoned ship as they didn't have enough time or, if they did, they died while escaping. Most likely, they died during the storm (several causes, as such heavy trashing, being swept away, the freezing cold etc.), but their bodies were not shown, as it was irrelevant to the plot.

It should. Perhaps Dr Hall carries it close to himself, warming it with his own body heat, and only takes it out briefly to look at it.

The roof isn't one continuous piece of glass. It's many pieces fitted together and separated by metal framing. The flat end of the pick can fit into the crack between two pieces of glass.

The license plate rim was broken, exposing a sharp end. It looks like she moved her leg forward, the sharp piece cut into her leg. She then moved her leg up, creating a near vertical wound.

Sam, Brian, and J.D. make it back from the derelict Russian ship with the penicillin for Laura's infected leg. Meanwhile, Jack and Jason (Dash Mihok) continue trekking to Manhattan, passing several freighter ships frozen in the NY harbor at the foot of the Statue of Libery. They reach the Library but find it mostly buried under snow except for a few entranceways. Inside, they find Sam, Laura, and several other survivors dozing in front of a fireplace. When Vice President (now President) Becker (Kenneth Welsh) hears that survivors have been found in New York, he orders search-and-rescue teams to pick them up and search New York for more survivors. In the final scene, the three astronauts stationed at the International Space Station look down at the planet below. 'Look at that,' says one of them. 'Have you ever seen the air so clear?'

The people in the library were able to survive by making fires and so on. Obviously, these other people were equally resourceful.

After the storm reaches Washington D.C., the president and part of his staff wait until it is too late to leave. Upon leaving, the motorcade is caught in the storm and the president and his staff froze to death.

Theoretically yes but it would take thousands of years.

Unlike the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere is mostly covered by ocean. Large water masses have a moderating influence on temperature and are less prone to freezing.

Earlier in the film, Hall's team analyzes the Scotland helicopter incident and determines that it was caused by a new meteorological phenomenon like a reverse hurricane. Air from the upper atmosphere was pulled down to ground level but remained at the temperature of the troposphere (-150 F). The eye of the storm is where the vortex from the troposphere to the surface terminates with the air then moving outward with the storm and warming to ground temperature. This is why the freezing happens during the eye of the storm. Dr. Hall is safe continuing after the eye passes as conditions will get steadily better because he is passing out of the storm, until it abruptly ends overnight.


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