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Day After Tomorrow (2004)


The Day After Tomorrow is the latest disaster movie from writer/director Roland Emmerich who brought us aliens attacking the Earth in Independence Day and a giant mutated monster destroying New York in Godzilla. The concept of Day After Tomorrow is not new, the end of the world scenario has been done before in past disaster flicks such as Volcano, Deep Impact, Armageddon, and most recently The Core. As with the four disaster flicks just mentioned, Day After Tomorrow is most like Deep Impact except for the asteroid. 

The premise of Day After Tomorrow is that sudden global warming change to the Earth's climate creates three giant hurricane like storms that will slowly engulf the entire planet. After the giant storms, the Earth will be in ice age.  Dennis Quaid (The Rookie) plays a climatologist that nobody listens to his advice to evacuate the northern hemisphere as even the vice president of the United States shuns his advice. Quaid then sets out on a rescue mission on foot from Washington to New York to save his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) from the big apple.

The Day After Tomorrow is a disaster flick that features some incredible special effects as Los Angeles gets completely destroyed by powerful tornadoes and New York gets flooded by giant ocean waves. There is not a moment in Tomorrow that does not feature some sort of special effect shot. In general, the special effects of the movie is the main event and the they deliver for most of the film.

The direction by Emmerich was similar to his ID4 outing by creating a multiple storylines that are all happening at the same moment while the story builds up. Emmerich creates just of the characters to actually feel for one of them when they succumb to the harsh elements. Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhall do credible jobs of portraying father and son as other minor characters such as the homeless man and Quaid's wife were convincing.

The Day After Tomorrow does suffers from some problems. First there are some characters storylines that are not wrapped up at the end and the film builds and builds to the exciting special effects driven storm but leaves nothing else for the viewer at the end. For the first hour and fifty minutes are as exciting as disaster movies go but the final ten minutes crashes under it's own weight. Why couldn't Emmerich leave us with a cliffhanger or on downbeat conclusion? He doesn't instead he sells out and gives us this inferior conclusion to great special effects build up. At least Armageddon had and interesting conclusion. With Tomorrow Emmerich seemed as though he had no idea how to end it.

I only recommend Day After Tomorrow for fans of disaster movies like Volcano and Deep Impact. The first hour and fifty minutes of the film are exciting and often times thrilling but the problem with Tomorrow is the final ten minutes which seem to me like a disaster of it's own which needed a better ending to justify the hour and fifty minutes of the movie.

Aspect ratio: 2:35.1

Twentieth Century Fox

Runtime: 123minutes

Rated: PG


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