Tuesday, June 01, 2004

POPCORN REVIEW: Surviving the "Day After Tomorrow"

The Day After Tomorrow 4/10



As far as special effect laden eye candy with splashes of over emotional dribble go, this summer box office blockbuster was worth the ride. While it's certainly no 28 days Later (Zombies are inherently more interesting than ice), director Roland Emmerich makes weather quite frightening to usher in the apocalypse.

Yes, it's true the Hollywood sign get swallowed by a twister and a giant wave engulfs Manhattan. But is there more to the movie? While not terribly much more, there is some. The "plot" takes us on the trek that a paleo-climatologist (ancient weatherman), Dennis Quaid, makes to find his smarter, and hotter, than average son, Jake Gyllenhaal. Of course, that develops after the screenwriters take an hour to tell us why we global warming is causing an ice age.



There was good: Debating on burning Nietzsche for life saving heat in the NYC Public Library, or saving the published word for future civilizations to appreciate.

... and bad: Wolves escape from the Central Park Zoo and randomly attack people. A subplot that was completely pointless. In fact, they aren't even killed for food... which is obviously what you would do with a wolves when you're living off Frito lay and hershey's.

While we do get the mass carnage that disaster films, and Roland Emmerich, are notorious for, it comes at a price. No, not just the ticket, but having to endure the environmental preaching throughout the film. Personally, I'm all for the environment, but this was not a film to further the cause. It certainly was not the film to "wake up" western civilization. The preaching was not in an effective eye opening way, but in a scolding parent kind of way. Politicians and commuters get there upcommin's for scorning mother nature... and she's a bitch! If you still didn't get the point, there are happy play by play commentators in the Mir space station that chime in throughout the film as well, "Have you ever seen the air so clean?".

So, with ice as the enemy, what could be a satisfying pay off. Okay well actually, we, American's, Europeans, and Japanese, were the enemy, but let's pretend it was the ice. So what could possibly be the pay off against ice? Erupting volcanoes? Giant Lasers? It's not like taking down spaceships... it's ICE! Well, I guess you'll have to watch the movie to find out. It's not cinematic greatness, nor does it have spellbinding FX that live up to the hype. But, if you're a wait-to-renter, it's best to buy a ticket or skip the film altogether... TV viewing will kill this film. The Day After Tomorrow is an adequate treat for a two hour means to beat the summer heat.

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