King Arthur

Starring Dennis Quaid, Sela Ward, Jake Gyllenhaal &
Ian Holm. Directed by Roland Emmerich.
Running Time: 124 minutes.

In the language of Hollywood, The Day After Tomorrow is an "effects film."

There are a few things you should know about this kind of movie. The actors

and the plot are mostly irrelevant. It hardly matters if the story is silly.

The dialogue can be trite and predictable. Cheap, easy sentimentality will

be exploited as often as possible. And a ton of stuff - usually really big

stuff - will get blown to smithereens.

In these terms, Roland Emmerich does not disappoint with his grandiose

eco-disaster follow up to Independence Day. And he does blow a lot of stuff

to smithereens.

As a result of global warming, a massive chunk of polar ice falls into the

sea irreparably altering the Atlantic Ocean currents that bring warmth from

South to North. The disruption gives rise to a massive storm which throws

the Northern Hemisphere into a cataclysmic ice age. Hail the size of rugby

balls falls on Tokyo. Tornados obliterate Los Angeles. And a tsunami roils

over the Statue of Liberty and floods New York City. At every turn, the

computer-generated destruction is fantastic.

Through all this, prophetic climatologist Dennis Quaid - who is pretty good

in his irrelevant performance - must trek through the snow covered Atlantic

seaboard to save his son (Gyllenhall) stranded in a frozen New York Public

Library. Did I mention the computer-generated destruction is fantastic?

In spite of the silly science, grotesque sentimentality (at one point, Sela

Ward must choose to join the evacuation of Washington D.C. or stay behind o

read a story to a young chemotherapy patient) and pedantic environmentalism, The Day After Tomorrow is surprisingly entertaining. The effects are the big star of the film, but, with only the mildest suspension of belief, the story manages to carry us through a beautifully rendered and entertaining ride.

Harden Grace is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office

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