DIRECTOR: Roland Emmerich
May Contain Spoilers!
Since my first viewing of this film back in 2004, The Day After Tomorrow has always been a bit of bug bear for me. On one hand the science of this is rooted in reality and postulates how global warming will result in a new ice age. But through the magic of the X-factor, not the TV show and a bit of Hollywood magic, this happens over night and by The Day After Tomorrow, the metaphor is not lost on me, the world will be inextricably changed by our systematic abuse of the planet and the climate change will be a very real concern.
The problem here is that we have the director of Independence Day (1996) preaching to us about the slow but devastating effects of global warming, whilst having to spice things up to make an action movie. On one hand, I’ll give him his due as he has managed to make the effects very dramatic but also quite boring at the same time.
We want to see tidal waves desomate New York, not a flood which freezes. Tornadoes destroying landmarks, well we got that but even that was surprisingly dull. One of the problems here was that this action is punctuated by some really poor and corny acting by all the main cast, namely Dennis Quaid, who is supposed to be the scientist behind the theory, who is also a superman type but in fact seems to spend the film bitching and hiking to New York to find his son.
Ian Holm hangs around with a group of caricature Brits who are doomed of course and the message is that we, in the Northern Hemisphere have lauded it over the Southern Hemisphere for a millenia and we’re going to have to swallow our pride and move there if we want to survive.
Er, no. How long after the credits role does World War III break out in the countries which we’ve invaded? The film glosses over this by making out that Mexico etc… have taken us in as guests but seriously, how naive is this! Later that year, 2004, a very real tsunami hit in the Philippines and so looking back, the New York scene which seemed to lack weight and substance, does look more effective now, certainly since the Japanese earthquake last year as well.
But overall, the performances are just that, scenery chewing and the action is poorly paced and applied. It’s not all bad but it’s far from good as well. The science is interesting but mired and compromised by a poor script.