May 29, 2004

"The Day After Tomorrow”- -A Film Review

A Triumph of Aberrant Weather Over Genuineness
By Fred H. Arm
Giant tornados slash across Los Angeles, snow falls in New Delhi, hailstones as big as coconuts deluge Tokyo, and polar ice shelves crack off and float away. What is this all about? Easy--global warming has accelerated to such an extent that massive aberrant weather patterns are appearing all across the globe. World leaders are alarmed, yet the US vice-president Becker (Kenneth Welch remarkably resembling Dick Cheney) scoffs at climatologist Jack Hall’s (Dennis Quaid) theory that global warming will produce another ice age of disastrous proportions.

When the situation worsens and the matter comes before US president Blake (Perry King), who incidentally is a dead ringer for Al Gore, all the Pres. can say is “what do you think we should do?” to his VP. This sort of corny dialogue is typical for film, nevertheless with such awesome and fantastic special effects, who really pays that much attention?

Much of the film centers on Jack Hall’s brilliant and handsome son Sam (Jake Glyllenhaal) and his two friends who have gone to New York City for an educational decathlon. After a massive hurricane unleashes a gigantic wave sweeping across New York Harbor, nearly submerging the Statue of Liberty; it rages through the streets of Manhattan, destroying everything in its path and drowning or crushing tens of thousands of panicked New Yorkers in a matter of minutes. Sam and his friends are now trapped in the flooded New York library on Fifth Avenue with hundreds of other survivors. After an almost underwater phone call to his Dad, Sam is promised by Jack that he will come to New York to rescue him.

After the hurricane has subsided, a blizzard with sub, sub-freezing temperatures covers the city in thirty feet of snow and kills anyone caught outside without the proper clothing protection. Through all these whiteout condition, Jack Hall and his buddies stomp through the blizzard to rescue his son trapped in the library. What he plans on doing once he makes it through the fiendish weather is too absurd to speculate. Naturally, in the meantime, his pretty son brilliantly uses his ingenuity and courage to fight the elements and other mishaps to save his colleagues. The plot is clearly an expensive adventure in cornball and predictable lines that one needs to forgive as we are jolted with one splendid and horrendous catastrophe after the other. The picture is spellbinding, yet could have been vastly improved by some serious editing of the more clichéd and unnecessary scenes.
Roland Emmerich, the director of this $125 million movie, has wreaked havoc on New York twice before, once with the help of aliens in "Independence Day" (1996) and two years later with a big lizard in "Godzilla." Yet, those movies were made before the 9/11 attacks forced movie producers to rethink plots involving deadly mayhem. Warner Brothers delayed the release of "Collateral Damage," with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Los Angeles firefighter tracking down Colombian terrorists to appease the wounded nation shocked by the mayhem in New York.

This film had an excellent opportunity to reveal and demonstrate the cause and effects of global warming; however, Emmerich instead chose to exploit the extraordinary effects by making the film an implausible scientific fluke. The real effect of global warming is a very slow process, not virtually overnight as depicted here. Nevertheless, the film is an incredible experience that I would highly recommend to anyone.

Posted by fredarm at May 29, 2004 09:07 PM
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