The Day After Tomorrow

"OK"

The Day After Tomorrow Review


"The Day After Tomorrow" isn't quite the disaster of a disaster flick I thought it would be.

Don't get me wrong -- it's bad in a way only $150-million movies with awe-inspiring special effects can be bad. It's riddled with nonsensical pseudo-science, saddled with supposedly brainy characters (climatologists, high-school science whizzes) who nonetheless haven't a scrap of common sense, and stuffed with stock characters designed for the kind of instant sympathy (or instant comic relief) that doesn't require actually giving them a personality.

But for popcorn munching and smart-remarking during a bargain matinee, it's a bad movie worth the price of admission.

A summer action flick about out-of-control climate change (go figure), the nonsensically-titled blockbuster gets its thrills from adding a little fantasy (instant ice age!) to the premise loosely based in a supportable scientific theory that, because of the particular flow of certain ocean currents, global warming could conversely lead to a deep freeze in the northern hemisphere.

Grasping at plot straws with the notion of such events happening in a matter of days, in "The Day After Tomorrow" Los Angeles is laid waste by monster tornados, Tokyo is pummeled by brick-sized hail, and Manhattan is drown in a 50-foot ocean swell (the initial wave is chest-deep on the Statue of Liberty) that is so spectacularly rendered, all I can say is "wow."

But while this disaster is supposed to be taking place on a worldwide scale, after destroying a few landmarks in Hollywood, the action focuses exclusively on two cities on the U.S. eastern seaboard (but at least it stays focused).

In Washington, D.C., government officials, led by a bull-headed vice president who looks and thinks a lot like Dick Cheney, refuse to look out the window or listen to the wild theories of climatologist Dennis Quaid, who literally sees the storm clouds gathering and is predicting doom, doom, DOOM! Meanwhile, in New York, Quaid's son, high-schooler Jake Gyllenhaal ("October Sky," "Donnie Darko"), and Jake's cutie-pie love interest Emma Rossum ("Mystic River") hole up in the top floors of the public library with a handful of other survivors as the city is flooded and then frozen in rapid succession.

Accustomed to dumbing down out-sized blockbusters, writer-director Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day," the 1998 "Godzilla," "The Patriot") invents a 100-degrees-below-zero instant-freeze weather effect so his characters have something to run away from, claiming that as long as you get indoors and light a small fire (with books at the library, even though the place is littered with wooden furniture), you'll be just fine. Although just for good measure he also throws in some escaped timber wolves from the Central Park Zoo.

But it isn't the absurdity of the instant-freeze new ice age that gets the movie in trouble -- it's the stories Emmerich builds around this message-heavy theme and the unintentional laughs they generate.

"Sam, just tell her how you feel," advises a friend as Gyllenhaal's character pines for the girl.

"I'm using my body heat to warm you," says the girl soon thereafter, while rubbing up against Gyllenhaal when he's been soaked in a glacial rush of flood water.

"I've walked that far before in the snow!" insists Quaid when he decides to -- get this -- snowshoe through the storm from Washington to Manhattan to save his son, even though there's not a single thing Dad can do once he gets there.

Dedicated actors that they are, Gyllenhaal and Quaid fully throw themselves into their characters, and it's interest in these two men that keeps the picture's human element alive. But they're still playing second fiddle to special effects.

Emmerich uses his story to get some pointed laughs out of the United States being in deep doo-doo, for example showing a news report that Mexico has closed its borders to immigrants. But "The Day After Tomorrow" is unlikely to get anyone thinking about the implications of greenhouse gasses and arrogant American foreign policy, and the film is simply too plagued with plot gaffes (why isn't the Southern Hemisphere effected?) to take it seriously anyway.

But it is fun, in a drive-in movie sort of way. Emmerich knows how to put on a good fireworks display, and as long as you're prepared to be laughing at the movie, not with the movie, there's no reason not to go and have a good time.



The Day After Tomorrow

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th May 2004

Box Office USA: $186.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $542.8M

Budget: $125M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation., Centropolis Entertainment, Lions Gate Films, Mark Gordon Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Fresh: 95 Rotten: 117

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jack Hall, as Sam Hall, as Laura Chapman, as Jason Evans, Jay O. Sanders as Frank Harris, as Dr. Lucy Hall, as J.D., as Brian Parks, as Janet Tokada, as Parker, as Terry Rapson, Nassim Sharara as Saudi Delegate, Carl Alacchi as Venezuelan Delegate, as Vice President Becker, Michel 'Gish' Abou-Samah as Saudi Translator, Kenneth Moskow as Bob, as Luther, as Simon, as Gomez, as Veteran Scientist, Richard Zeman as Flight Director, as President Blake, as Secretary of State, Vitali Makarov as Yuri, Russian Astronaut, Russell Yuen as Hideki, Japanese Astronaut

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.