Friday, May 29, 2015

Movie Review: "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004)

Image Source
Movie"The Day After Tomorrow"
Director: Roland Emmerich
Year: 20004
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes

After an ice shelf the size of Rhode Island falls into the Antarctic ocean, paleoclimatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) has a hypothesis that the over saturation of fresh water in the ocean will cause a shift in the north Atlantic current causing erratic weather and possibly a new ice age. This change happens faster than anyone expected and beings bringing massive storms in the northern hemisphere. Meanwhile, Jack's son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is competing at an academic competition in New York City when he is caught in a super storm that brings flooding and eventually a blizzard that will freeze anyone outside in a matter of seconds. Jack heads his team to New York to save his son and those with him. 

Forget everything and anything you know about science before you sit down and watch this film because you don't need it. The premise of this film is global warming will lead to a new ice age. Yes, you heard that right, the warming of the earth will cause it to freeze. Not that this is totally implausible, but the rate at which it happens in the film is a complete fantasy. We understand why it transpires like this, though, as it's hard to make a big budget disaster movie themed on global climate change without fudging a few things in the spirit of fastness. In disaster movies, a sense of imminent danger is needed and you don't get that with gradually rising sea levels, California drought conditions and the occasional flash flood. All that stuff, when faced with it in real life, is scary, but not "I'm going to freeze to death in a matter of seconds" scary. These are all long term problems that slowly sneak up on us all and this doesn't play well on film, thus the need for this highly implausible narrative.

This being said, there are quite a few entertaining elements to "The Day After Tomorrow." It doesn't matter that the weather patterns are fantastical and the script is totally contrived and borderline silly because, let's be honest, what Roland Emmerich disaster film isn't? We watch movies like this to see tornadoes happen in Los Angeles, hail storms rage in Japan, and to watch a giant tsunami hit New York City and become and iceland, covering our beloved symbol of pride, the statue of liberty, all the way to the very tippy top of it in miles of snow. The movie brings all of this within the first hour. Once we pass this first hour and the blizzard settles, the pace slows down dramatically and to its detriment. We don't want to see a bunch of teenagers moping around during a damn snowpocalypse burning books and falling in love. Sam, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, and his fellow academic competition teammates are holed up in a public library just trying to stay warm for the last hour of the film. Their biggest problem arises when Sam's love interest Laura, played by Emmy Rossum, has an infected cut and Sam and a couple others have to go to the sick bay of a Russian ship that conveniently floated up right next to library to get some penicillin. The only excitement in this elongated scene comes from a trio of terribly CGI'd wolves and the fear of them freezing to death when the eye of the storm crosses over. The rest of the peril is to be had by Sam's dad Jake, played by Dennis Quaid, and his team drudging across the frozen tundra that use to be New York City to find his son. His team faces snow, cold, more snow, and falling into holes covered by the snow. The color palette of this movie is extremely drab, so don't expect a lot of color from something filled with buildings and snow and rain.

Apart from the poorly CGI'd wolves, however, the film must be commended for its awesome special effects. Even in 2015 and by today's standards, these effects hold up and still look really good on screen. A pretty picture doesn't save mediocre acting and awful dialogue, though, which makes this movie more of a dud than anything. There really is nothing fun or tremendous here, and since it's all doom and gloom, it can get taxing and uninteresting after the first 65 minutes. And by the way, how does Dennis Quaid simply outrun the cold? Once he shuts the door on the storm, it wouldn't just stop moving. These tiny inconsistencies in its storytelling add up to one heaping mess of wasted potential.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 45%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

No comments:

Post a Comment