The Day After Tomorrow
Film review by: Witney Seibold
Writer/Director Roland Emmerich has now employed aliens to blow up Washington D.C., a giant lizard to breathe fire on New York City, and, with “The Day After Tomorrow,” really, really bad weather to destroy pretty much the entire northern hemisphere. What happened to this guy as a kid to make him want to destroy the world? But whatever his pathology, his new apocalyptic vision is actually not all that horrific. In fact, despite its silliness, it’s actually kind of fun.
The story is… well, actually, who cares? People don’t attend movies like this for a story, they attend for effects sequences, and maybe a bit of a vicarious thrill in seeing familiar monuments destroyed. But I’ll give the setup anyway, as not to be remiss in my critical duties: global warming has caused enough of the polar ice to melt.
Paleoclimatologist Dennis Quaid warns the vice-president about this (a vice-president which looks not a little bit like good ol’ Cheney), and indicates that the imbalance will bring on another ice age. And fast. The VP pooh-poohs this, but you get no points for guessing that Dennis was right. We then see, in the ensuing climate shift, L.A. getting ripped apart by tornados, Tokyo getting pelted by giant hail, and New York getting a freezing bath. It’s all pretty cool, actually. Oh, and there’s a few subplots: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis’ son, rescues his true love and is reunited with his father; Jake’s mom saves a young boy with cancer despite the snow (aww); Escaped wolves (!) terrorize our heroes; Panicked Americans flee south and, in the film’s funniest bit, have to start sneaking over the border into Mexico. Touché.
I was actually kind of impressed with the special effects in this film, a claim I rarely make. Most computer effects look static and forced and, well, animated to me (see the upcoming “Spider-Man” film for unconvincing effects). This film seemed to get it just right in blending its goofy falseness and its hammy earnestness. It’s not as good-natured as, say, “The Core,” but it certainly is the better film. As far as summer blockbusters go, you can do worse.