The Day After Tomorrow

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The Day After Tomorrow
Review (7.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is a climatologist whose work has led him to discover some disturbingly suspicious weather patterns and dramatic temperature changes throughout the world. There is snow in India, a crack the size of Oprah's ass in the polar ice cap in Antarctica, hail the size of bowling balls in Japan and in England, it's so cold they start speaking French. He begins to fear the world is on the verge of a modern day Ice Age but the government shrugs off Jack's warning until all hell breaks loose in the United States (typical Americans - just kidding). Before the Vice-President can say "Hey, it's snowing outside, that's not supposed to be happening", Los Angeles is being destroyed by violent tornadoes and New York City is getting its ass kicked by an 800 foot tidal wave and then being buried under 800 feet of snow. Jack decides to head to New York to try to save his puppy-eyed son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), the love of his son's life Laura (Emmy Rossum) and a few other people who were smart enough to stay indoors and not go outside only to be turned into human icicles.

The first thing I will say about The Day After Tomorrow is the special effects are outstanding. Well, most of the special effects. The scenes where we see Los Angeles and New York City being destroyed are so real it is scary. It almost makes you feel that what we are seeing on the screen is really happening. The hour or so leading up to and including the destruction of the world and the weather disaster is riveting and very, very intense. It will keep your eyes glued to the screen. I have to tip my hat to director Roland Emmerich and anyone else involved in making those scenes. They are quite possibly the best "disaster" scenes that I have ever seen in a movie. On the down side, there was a whole scene with some CGI wolves that was terrible and unnecessary but it can almost be forgiven considering what they were able to do with the rest of the movie.

In some ways, it's too bad that they could not have done a bit better job with the characters and sub-plots in the movie. It probably made the difference from The Day After Tomorrow being a very good movie and a great movie. None of the characters in the movie are particularly interesting. I personally found Quaid and Gyllenhaal to be decent and likeable enough to almost hope that they lived (but not totally) but other than that, most of the subtle stories and characters were a waste of screen time. Quaid's wife in the movie is a non-factor. Quaid's two assistants in the movie were okay, I suppose. His trek to New York City almost defied all logic. The weather was so cold that any exposed skin would instantly freeze and it did - on everyone except Quaid and his two cronies. And really, walking from Philadelphia to New York - would that not have taken about three years? Anyways, the minor stories in the movie were supposed to be just that - minor. And that, they were. Ridiculous in some cases. It causes the last half hour of the movie to drag a little and that was disappointing. It almost seems like so much time and effort was put into the first 3/4 of the movie that there was no money left for a slam dunk ending so they came up with a budget-conscious ending and just slapped it onto an otherwise outstanding movie.

With that being said, I would still highly recommend seeing The Day After Tomorrow. I have to admit I really enjoyed the movie and found the disaster aspect of the movie to be nothing short of marvelous. It is a movie that can easily be picked apart and I'm sure it will be picked apart by all the world's self-proclaimed movie experts. But if you are not floored after watching two of the world's great cities being destroyed in a matter of hours, well, you must really be a cynical person. I can tell you one thing - I am thinking of getting the hell out of Canada because if there ever is an Ice Age (again), we are going to have our sorry asses buried under a monster glacier in about three days. I figure I'll move to Mexico in a few years and I'll be safe there (hey, senor). Although we may never see a world disaster of such grand proportions anytime in our lifetime, the fact remains that mankind is destroying the earth and nature, in general. The disaster of A Day After Tomorrow might be a stretch but hopefully someday, someone learns a lesson and does something about the shit that governments and corporations around the world are putting us through. Otherwise, someday, there may not be a day after tomorrow.

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