Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow; Science-fiction adventure, USA, 2004; D: Roland Emmerich, S: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, Arjay Smith, Sela Ward

Climatologist Jack Hall warns the US president and vice president about global warming, but they don't listen. When the measurements show that the melting of the polar ice disrupted the North Atlantic current, Dr. Rapson tells Jack how his prediction for the weather model will happen faster then he expects. After a tornado passes through Los Angeles and the sea floods New York, Jack realizes three giant storm will put the whole world in a new ice age in 7-10 days, so the president orders all Americans to run to the south. Jack's son Sam stayed with his friends in New York, just when the extremely cold ice storm showed up. Jack is able to find them alive. In the end, the US president vows to take more care of the environment in the future.

Roland Emmerich chose global warming and climate change as the topic for his science-fiction disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow", giving it thus a higher dose of clear social commentary and political subtext than his simpler, action packed "Godzilla" - though even that film could be seen as a sly commentary of the clumsy nuclear testings across the world. As a master of special effects, Emmerich was always much more inspired when he directed spectacular sequences of destruction than quiet human drama, and that's why whenever there are special effects in the film, it is engaging: the sequence of a tornado rampaging across Los Angeles, destroying the Hollywood sign, is amazing, and the moment where a tsunami floods New York is a small legend. Emmerich, as a German director working for Hollywood, seems to have an unusual caprice of loving to destroy American monuments in his films, but when there's a point to this like here when he brings his message across, it's somewhat understandable. Yet, whenever Denis Quaid, Jake Gylenhaal, Emmy Rossaum or any other character is in the center of the story, the film seems boring, stiff and bothersome since the authors didn't know how to make them look like interesting. More or less, they are just there to keep the film going. From the scientific standpoint, the events revolving around a new ice age are almost laughable, but when the whole thing is so packed with thrills and suspense, it works anyway.


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