THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
With Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm
Directed by Roland Emmerich
So, now Emmerich has completed his trilogy of destroying New York in three (digitally) creative ways - first aliens blew the shit out of it, then a giant lizard ripped it up and now global warming has melted icecaps, created floods and a second ice age hot (or is that chilled) on its heels. As far as disaster movies go, Emmerich knows what buttons to push.
The usual suspects include: Jack, the weather expert (who's so involved with his work he neglects time with his son); the progeny in question who happens to be in New York when this northern hemisphere disaster strikes; the wife and mom (a nurse who opts to stay with a sick kid when everyone evacuates); Jack's expendable colleagues (one named Frank); the stubborn vice president who won't listen to the weather man's warnings; the old weather guy who backs Jack; a multitude of nameless victims... But, the big star of course is the digital FX team who created some impressive weather disasters, from tornados and floods to frozen cities. With Sam and a couple of other survivors holed up in the New York library, Jack decides he's going to get his son (cue tearful sigh or barf bag, whichever side of the fridge you find yourself on those matters).
For a film of this magnitude you'd expect the FX to be seamless all round - enter the digital wolves that escaped from the zoo (and are yet again depicted as bloodthirsty, vicious beasts). Real animals would've been a much better move, the fake wolves not in the least convincing. For all of the creative pseudo-scientific plots built up for the entire film's premise, maybe Emmerich and his co-writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff could've proven to be less naïve on the subject of wolves and their non-existent hostile history towards man (though they'll explain themselves by saying the animals were starving I guess…). All said, they are merely used as a set-up for a spot of single-scene peril.
Amid the spectacular CGI shenanigans the humans clamour for some attention, which it gets plenty of, but ultimately fails to convince a moviegoer who knows better. No budget size can make up for a patronizing script that wants to get the audience on its side by portraying contrived acts of bravery, family love and courage in the face of humongous odds.
And, did the lead protagonist's name have to be Jack and his buddy Frank, though? The most overused, safe movie names in the book. I'm surprised there wasn't a Molly (or maybe I wasn't listening). The female characters don't play much of a role besides the angelic nurse-mom and object of the young man's affection. Still, a blockbuster through and through.
3 / B
1 2 3 4 5 6
A - B - C
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished