The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

the day after tomorrow IMDb

I can’t even with this movie.

I believe that man made climate change is real, and will alter the earth dramatically within my future children’s lifetimes (if not sooner) if we don’t start making some serious changes now. But will this translate into tidal waves, tornadoes, and super storms that all hit within a period of a few weeks, culminating in a new Ice Age? No. That would be ridiculous. Much like this shitty alarmist snooze fest.

Normally I write off the more outrageous plot points in disaster movies as Hollywood taking major liberties with science. Sometimes this is necessary to make the story more entertaining or to improve pacing, so I push it to the back of my mind and just enjoy the show. However, I can’t let things slide here. The absolute absurdity of this movie hurts the environmental cause. Climate change deniers will look at this and laugh at how stupid it is. It basically makes the argument for them that anyone who believes in climate change is an idiot, ready to lap this sort of story up.

Also, this is a really subpar disaster movie. The non-disaster subplots are weak, the cast is B grade… the only thing that sets this apart from a SyFy TV movie are the excellent special effects (with the exception of the sequence involving a pack of wolves). How this made it to theaters is either the greatest mystery of all time, or definitive proof that there is a liberal agenda being pushed by Hollywood. Actually, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, where we all should be.

Rating: D

This is a strange film. It is a disaster movie, with not much disaster. Most of the film is spent watching Jake Gyllenhaal and friends hide out in the New York Public Library, waiting for a super storm to pass. I feel like the makers of this film had good intentions. They obviously wanted to raise awareness about the very real problem of global warming (or climate change for all you tossers complaining that it sometimes causes large snow storms), but the execution is not done very well. Much of the plot is implausible and very unlikely to happen. Most of the time in disaster movies like these, an unbelievable plot is par for the course. Unfortunately, The Day After Tomorrow is not exciting enough to let you forget how ridiculous the plot is.

The movie follows Dennis Quaid as super science boffin, Jack Hall. He predicts that the world will be enveloped in a second ice age unless we all do something about carbon emissions. Turns out he forgot to carry the 2, and his prediction of this happening in 100 years, is actually more like one month later. His son (Gyllenhaal) is caught in a giant snowstorm that has enveloped all of Canada and the north of the United States. Jack must venture into the storm to save his son, while the rest of the country heads as far south as they can. There is a humorous moment when Americans are fleeing into Mexico. It is not lost on the audience how ironic this is, given how much news coverage America’s border protection and issues with Mexican immigrants get.

Like I said, this is a disaster film that just doesn’t have that much actual disaster. There is a brief scene where Gyllenhaal ventures out into the cold to get his girlfriend (Emmy Rossum) some medicine after her cut becomes infected. Other than that, there are some brief destruction scenes when the storm first hits, then everything freezes and we wait with Gyllenhaal in the library while his dad comes to rescue him. It’s really a very boring movie, despite trying to be exciting and epic in scale. Given that destruction master Roland Emmerich (director of Independence Day and Stargate) is behind the camera for this film, I expect a little bit more from him than a few shots of a snow storm followed by one iconic image of the statue of liberty frozen and half submerged under water. The film’s intentions to raise awareness of climate change are honourable, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Rating: D

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