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The Day After Tomorrow

A 2008 movie directed by Roland Emmerich

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What If?

  • Oct 24, 2004
  • by
Pros: Good balance between special effects and human interaction, serious good action.

Cons: Some cliche's!

The Bottom Line: In the final analysis The Day After Tomorrow is thankfully just fiction, but it will make you think, about what we are doing to our planet.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

By now if you have not heard of the growing global warm phenomenon, you are either a hermit, or just very ill-informed. It is the scientific debate of the new century, and with the recent Russian Parliament’s approval of the Kyoto Protocols on climate change, the rhetoric concerning the causations of aforementioned global warming are once again news.

The United States callously abandoned the Kyoto Protocols early in the Bush Presidency, with the President claiming the jury was still out on global warning. But is it really? Is the phenomenon real or imaginary? Is the next ice age coming, and will it be within out life-times? These are questions tackled with zeal by the producers of Independence Day, in the summer thriller The Day After Tomorrow. Though full of clichés—the workaholic father who is no less a hero for his shortcomings, the broken marriage, the out of touch government officials—I found The Day After Tomorrow enjoyable.

The Storyline

Directed by Roland Emmerich (Universal Soldier, Independence Day, The Patriot), The Day After Tomorrow centers on climatologist Jack Hall, portrayed by Dennis Quiad (Enemy Mine, The Big Easy, Any Given Sunday) who works for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington DC. He believes the climate on earth propelled by global warming is changing, and if unchecked, will herald the next ice age within a few generations. But his theories and the warning they signal are dismissed by a less then skeptical Vice President of the United States who is more concerned with economic grow then the impact of global warming; sound familiar? This attitude even as snow uncharacteristically falls in India where he presenting his finding before the world.

Meanwhile, Jack’s son Sam, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal (Bubble Boy, October Sky, The Good Girl), his estranged from his father, the later having spent far too much time on his scientific research to bond with the boy. But Sam has inherited his father’s genius. And Jack’s wife Lucy portrayed by (mostly television actress) Sela Ward (Double Jeopardy, Sisters, Once and Again) a doctor in her own right is of course still in love with Jack, but resents all the time he spends away from her.

The weather strangeness around the world continues to build apace; a killer hurricanes, freak hail storms in Japan, tornadoes touch down in Los Angeles virtually destroying the city (I’m not sure that is such a bad thing), and the surface temperature in the oceans north of the equator started to drop. Jack believes his predictions are off by oh say a few decades and that the storm the will precipitate the earth’s next ice age is here. The Vice President of course dismisses Jack’s findings even as the storm clouds gather over most of earth north of the equator in three huge cells, dumping inches of rain and then snow across the northern latitudes.

Against this backdrop Sam, who as I mentioned earlier is a smart lad, travels to New York as part of an academic team to compete in a competition. Laura portrayed by Emmy Rossum (Mystic River, The Phantom of the Opera) has his heart and is the reason he joined the team, and Brian has is back when things start to get hairy.

As the days pass the storm gets progressively worse, and as the competition wraps up in New York, Manhattan starts to flood and before long a huge wave floods the city, trapping Sam, Laura, and Brian, who find shelter in the majestic New York Public Library along with several other people. Ever resourceful Sam manages to get a call through to Jack who tells him to stay put and stay indoors. And Jack promises to come and get his son. Meanwhile in wicked twist of irony, as the storms worsen driving people from their homes, American stream south into Mexico, refugees, illegal aliens…

For many The Day After Tomorrow did not work, too implausible they quipped, but it is a movie I retort, not a docudrama. Its primary purpose is to entertain, and that it does rather well. Rich in visuals, but admittedly short of human interaction, The Day After Tomorrow is one long thrill ride; there is scant time to catch your breath once Mother Nature sets about reminding man that what he destroyed, she shall renew. She and not he is master of the earth. Mother Nature is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, one which man is powerless to prevent or circumvent.

The special effects in this movie struck the right balance between gee-wiz and human interplay; in other words, they were not the movie only a part of the movie. In the final analysis The Day After Tomorrow is thankfully just fiction, but it will make you think, or at least it did me about what we are doing to our planet that will eventually come back to bite us hard!


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More The Day After Tomorrow (2004 m... reviews
review by . November 11, 2009
One of the best and most powerful disaster films I'v e seen in years...
It's got a  great idea and mind blowing visual effects  but Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow" falls  flat  mainly due  to  it 's poorly constructed script, underdeveloped characters, scientific inaccuracies and poor acting. But amazingly this film works due to it's special effects  are on such a grand and amazing scale that it works  even if it's plot is  ridiculous             "The Day After …
review by . November 17, 2008
The focus of this latest disaster flick is X-treme weather gone wrong.     Instead of aliens or mutant monsters, we have:     1. Some mean weather systems trashing the planet with tornados, typhoons, tidal waves, hurricanes, sub zero temperatures and flash freezing.     2. A screenplay attacking the ears with some terrible dialogue.     3. An implausable plot cruelly stretching the credibilty.     This …
review by . March 14, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Thought-provoking tale about the cataclysmic weather events that take place on planet earth as a result of global climate changes. Dennis Quaid stars as a climatologist who knows his stuff...and based upon information received from his colleagues around the globe, determines that the massive storms and temperature changes that the world has been experiencing is ushering in another ice age. Predictably, he battles with US politicians in an effort to save as many as his countrymen as possible--finally …
review by . September 24, 2004
Roland Emmerich has done it again. He's found another way of destroying major cities on the big screen. This time around, it isn't a giant lizard or aliens, though. This time, it's Big Momma Nature. I caught this one in the cinema, and I'm sure that it has a better payoff there than on the TV. It's still worth a look though.     The premise of the story is a little wild, but all in all this is just another disaster flick. There's no moral to this story(unless you're a tree-hugger …
review by . September 18, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
The Day after Tomorrow was made, apparently, for one reason: To wow the audience with its special effects and for a few moments make us feel like we are also dodging tidal waves and tornadoes. In that way, for me, it succeeded.      You can't approach effects vehicles the same way as hardcore drama's that are filled with the do's and do not's of life. You have to step back and ask: Do I care enough about these characters to worry whether they make it or not? I felt …
review by . May 27, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: None     Cons: Bad acting, story, and lines.     The Bottom Line: A complete and utter disaster.     In the new film “The Day After Tomorrow” a bitter chill will envelope the audience as they realize that they have just spent money to watch one of the worst films in history. This is the reaction that many unsuspecting theatergoers are going to have this Memorial Day weekend as they watch the latest disaster film from Writer/Director/Producer …
About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #77
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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With THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, director Roland Emmerich (INDEPENDENCE DAY, GODZILLA) trades evil aliens and radioactive lizards in for some seriously bad weather. When a radical change in the temperature of the world's oceans causes deadly storms and sets a new Ice Age in motion, climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) must race from Washington D.C. to save his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), in the subzero climes of New York City. Elsewhere, tornadoes and hail menace the globe, leading to international disasters on an extraordinary level. 
Emmerich, who has proven to be a master of big-budget cinematic destruction on numerous occasions, aims to outdo himself with THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. Here entire cities are ripped apart, flooded, and/or frozen, adding up to one of the biggest disaster movies ever filmed. Although astonishingly rendered special effects rule the movie, adept actors such as Quaid and Gyllenhaal (along with Sela Ward, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, and others) turn in solid performances that h...
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