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
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