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Review: The Day After Tomorrow (* 1/2)
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): * 1/2
A ludicrous and sanctimonious environmental sermon disguised as a summer
disaster flick, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW has more in common with
writer/director Roland Emmerich's abysmal GODZILLA than his stirring
INDEPENDENCE DAY. Without a single credible character, it's just a
collection of good -- but not great -- special effects in search of a movie.
The basic premise of the plot is that global warming is about to cause the
next ice age. How quickly will this worldwide change take place? Well, the
film isn't titled SOME CENTURY SOON.
Dennis Quaid, fresh from his "success" in THE ALAMO, stars as Jack Hall, the
only scientist on the earth who gets it and who predicts what will happen.
And just when it appears that he is the only one on the planet who could
save it, or at least parts of it, Jack gives a briefing in Washington and
then heads north, much of it on foot, to save his son, Sam (Jake
Gyllenhaal), one of the few people left alive in Manhattan. It's obvious to
anyone that Jack has no chance of making it to Sam, which, of course, means
that he will.
The cheapest shot of all comes in the casting of the key role of the Vice
President, who is shown as the power behind the throne. The filmmakers cast
a Dick Cheney look-alike then proceed to turn this fictional Vice President
into a blithering idiot.
Speaking of idiots, the director acts as though the audience were filled
with them. The movie keeps grinding to a complete halt so that some
faux-human drama can unfold, including a bald boy who is a cancer patient
who can't be moved since all the ambulances are gone, a tourist who won't
follow police orders because she can't speak English and the Americans who
break the law by becoming illegal immigrants into Mexico, where it's still
warm. The script keeps throwing ridiculous pseudo-science at us, which it
mixes with just enough of the plausible, to argue that this all really could
happen. Massive tornadoes could strike L.A., people could be killed by
softball-sized hail in Japan, half of the world could almost instantly be
buried in snow and a tidal wave -- which humans, we find, can outrun --
could flood Manhattan several stories deep.
I want my two hours back.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW runs way too long at 2:03. It is rated PG-13 for
"intense situations of peril" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and
My son Jeffrey, age 15, could only muster * 1/2 for it. He liked the
special effects but complained about everything else about the movie,
including its blatant political agenda, its length, its unbelievable
coincidences and the overall weirdness of the storyline. He just didn't buy
it for a minute.
The film opens nationwide in the United States on Friday, May 28, 2004. In
the Silicon Valley, it will be showing at the AMC and the Century theaters.
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