The Day After Tomorrow

April 16, 2010

The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow

This is probably my ultimate guilty pleasure film.  The Day After Tomorrow does have a lot of wonderful special effects and the story could have been worse, but overall it isn’t a great film.  However, I can watch this film over and over again and enjoy it, however, I feel a little guilty for doing so.  This film doesn’t vary all that much from you typical Roland Emmerich film in that it is all about the massive special effects that show natural disasters.  But, when you are good at something and not terrible at telling the story, why not stick with what you know.

The Day After Tomorrow is a global warming scare film, basically.  It starts out wit the polar ice caps melting which cools off the oceans sending the northern hemisphere into a new ice age.  Actually, that is the vast majority of the plot right there, as three super storms threaten Asia, North America, and Europe sending them into a deep freeze.  The actual part of the story with characters is basically as interesting.  A scientist, played by Dennis Quaid, figures out what is happening before anyone else does, but no one pays any attention to him until it is almost too late to evacuate the United States (they never really do say what happens to Canada).  His son, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is a high school student who along with a couple of other students end up trapped in New York City, which is north of the line that can be evacuated in time, as it goes into deep freeze.  He along with some other students and library staff take refuge in a library.  They end up stuck in New York waiting for his dad to come and rescue them like he promises to do.  So we get to watch Dennis Quaid trudging through snow to save his son and Jake Gyllenhaal trying to save everyone in the library.  It ends with a typical Hollywood ending, but if you don’t remember what that means, I’ll let you enjoy it.

The acting in this film is simply average at best.  Dennis Quaid does a good job playing the leader but is fairly unmemorable in this role.  Jake Gyllenhaal isn’t as annoying as in some films and does a decent job.  But in terms of acting talent, he really doesn’t have a ton, it apparently all went to his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal.  The main reason I like this film is because it has Emmy Rossum in it (and I’m a sucker for stories about people risking harm to themselves to try and save their loved ones).  Emmy Rossum has a small role and is fairly unmemorable but is definitely not bad to look at, which is pretty standard for a guilty pleasure film.  Ian Holm shows up briefly in this film with a fairly plain role, but he is the rest of the star power.  The cast as a whole isn’t all that impressive and the performances match the star power being fairly boring.

Visually is what makes the film.  When you have tornadoes ripping through Los Angeles and baseball sized hail in Tokyo, and giant tidal waves coming and flooding New York City, it is going to be impressive.  Roland Emmerich is known for this and has done it again recently with his film, 2012.  The story might be very simple and predictable, but you get to see a lot of cool special effects and tons of very grand shots of famous places getting destroyed.  When you’ve directed films such as Stargate and Independence Day, you can’t sluff off on a film and not bring some impressive special effects disasters.

This is really a film that isn’t as good as I think it is.  Or maybe it is, but it is a film that shouldn’t be enjoyed as much as I enjoy it.  It has some fun special effects and Emmy Rossum but at times gets absurdly preachy about global warming and how it is going to destroy the world in a matter of minutes.  If you really skip about five minutes towards the beginning and five minutes towards the end, it would be a better film because you don’t get the monologues beating you over the head about what you are supposed to believe.  A film that tries to do too much, so if you watch it and find yourself wanting to think, don’t and just enjoy the special effects.

Entertainment Grade: B+

Critical Grade: C

Overall Grade: B-


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