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Review: The Day After Tomorrow

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As long as you can shut off that part of your brain that might actually try to think about what you’re watching at all, The Day After Tomorrow can be reasonably enjoyable at times. At other times it borders on financial-report dull. It’s hard to take any movie directed by Roland Emmerich too seriously–he’s in it for the property damage and the great visuals and that’s really about it. This movie’s certainly got both of those qualities several times over, but I could’ve just watched the trailer three or four times and saved myself two hours.

One of the most disappointing parts of The Day After Tomorrow was that all of the disaster sequences–the sequences we see so much of in the trailers–are over and done with fairly early in the flick. I’d assumed as much would be true, of course; modern trailers aren’t designed to tell the audience what the movie’s about but instead to give us enough visual foreplay to make us hand over ten bucks in hopes we get a happy ending. But all The Day After Tomorrow had going for it, honestly, was given away by those trailers. I wanted to see more of the “world landmark gets decimated” footage, but what I’d already seen was most of what we got. After around the halfway point, we’re pretty much just looking at lots and lots and lots of snow and ice.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Grade: C
Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: Roland Emmerich and Jeffery Nachmanoff
Starring: Dennis Quaid Jake Gyllenhaal Emmy Rossum
Studio: 20th Century Fox

The concept of the movie actually could have driven a decent science fiction movie: because of the horrors mankind has inflicted on our environment over the last couple hundred years, the earth’s climate decides it’s time for a little payback and drops a new ice age on everything north of Virginia or so. (We don’t see much about the southern hemisphere; I guess Emmerich didn’t think they had as many recognizable landmarks to destroy.) In the hands of a director more interested in teasing our brains rather than our guts, the basic premise could have spawned any number of interesting stories. What we get instead is Standard Hollywood Disaster Lite. Goes down easy and doesn’t leave much aftertaste.

What can I say about the acting? About the quality of the writing? Not much. I suppose I could, but really, do you even care? If you’re watching this movie it’s not because you’re looking for life lessons or realistic, nuanced interactions between well-drawn characters. You’re watching it because you want to see shit go boom. (One notable exception here, notable for the stench it gives off: Emmerich busts out a little kid with cancer and practically breaks our collective arms trying to twist it and make us care. Sorry, Roland, didn’t work.)

Written by Allen

February 27th, 2005 at 11:43 pm

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