The Day After Tomorrow-Movie Scientists Never Have the Village Idiot For A Kid
The Day After Tomorrow-you will have you crapping in your pants. This is one of those films, that scares the hell out of you, even though you know the filmmakers are wiping their butts with science. The Day After Tomorrow is at times campy and comical, but still leaves you feeling uneasy as you consider the prospect of real climate change and what it could mean. The script itself is like so many other disaster films in that you follow either a scientist (see about one-half of all science-fiction films) or a reporter (Deep Impact, etc) as they play chicken little and try to tell stupid politicians that, well, that the sky is falling. The politicians, of course, could care less because they are busy doing what politicians do oh so well such as taking brides, and taking brides and, ah, taking brides. So then the bad stuff happens and it is pretty cool visually, cities get the living crap kicked out of them. To be specific global freeze as a superstorm buries NYC under ice. We also have the Statue of Liberty shot-no cliche there and a absurdly offensive, heavy handed political statement involving Mexico at the end (the message didn’t bother me, it was the giant hammer used on my skull to deliver the message that was a wee bit irritating.)
There is the obligatory forced family tension between Jack Hall played stiffly by Denis Quaid and his son Sam Hall played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Sam, just like his daddy is a super-genius because hey that’s the way it works. No rant here, just note that in the movies, smart and powerful guys rarely have the village idiot for a son, but in real life we know this is pretty dam common. Regardless, I think you get the idea, forced human drama in an impossible situation.
Then there is the problem of the misuse of science to move the fantasy script along. I won’t break it all down, smarter chaps all over the Internet have already tackled it so its there if you want it. But lets just say that the half-ass, check that, quarter-ass “science” in the film pretty much guarantees that no one will be thinking of this one as a classic.
Budget wise, the $110-$130 million dollar is evident on the screen, which isn’t always the case, however keep in mind that this is roughly the same budget as an episode of one of the new Star Wars movies. Jar-Jar being sucked up by a superstorm and ripped apart would have improved the film but alas, its not in the final cut. The Day After Tomorrow grossed about $500 million, which is in and of itself part of the reason we continue to get movies of this kind where science is sort of treated more like magic. The MBAs and lawyers that run the studios like gods could care less as long as people give them money.
This is not the worse movie you will see, its just has so many problems. I am not even going to get into the stuff with the pack of wolves, yeah, there’s a pack of wolves. The acting is stiff, Gyllenhaal try as they might is not a leading man, but that is where its all headed, but it is solid escapist fun. However, the movie is quite clearly wrapping itself in the cloak of an important and timely film. The logic errors and wild and inaccurate science, such as a mile thick ice-sheet forming in a matter of days should have prevented this film from being considered as a film “with something to say.” I love that writer/director Emmerich is drawing attention to Global Warming, but I just wish he would have worked harder on this script and not pandered to the lowest common IQ in the audience. Hey, its pretty simple, you shouldn’t get to act like your doing something important and grandiose when you’re really just making a money grab.
Visuals B+ ($110-$130 million is a lot of cash, our eyeballs should have received more.)
Enjoyability Grade C
Home Theater/HD Factor B
Overall Grade C-