: The Day After Tomorrow
Okay, let’s get it understood right off the bat that this obviously isn’t Shakespeare. The story’s so thin it’s like it’s not even there. It probably would be better if it wasn’t, since it’s so ridiculous. The idea is that global warming causes the next ice age, not over a period of a thousand years, but a week. The writers hammer home their environmental message a few too many times, which actually hurts their cause, because the movie’s so preposterous it makes their dramatic “we must learn to care for our planet” speeches sound silly. Story itself is about a lone wolf scientist who’s ringing the alarm bell on global warming, but of course no one will listen to him, until weird weather — hail in Tokyo, tornados in L.A., etc. — suddenly brings the matter to importance. Of course the scientist has a son who’s trapped in Manhatten as it goes underwater when the polar ice caps melt and cause the ocean to rise. It’s all very dramatic and unnecessary, with stereotypical characters like the homeless guy with his dog and the beautiful girl who’s just a friend.
No, the reason you go to watch a film like this is for the spectacular special effects, and here the film succeeds remarkably. I wouldn’t have thought weather would be that dramatic or interesting, but the producers include lots of amazing shots from space, showing the planet as it undergoes a fantastic climate shift. The scenes of towering storm clouds the size of mountains were amazing, and all the New York City stuff — the ocean taking over and freezing solid, all the skyscrapers snowed under — was impressive. I was less impressed by the wimpy tornadoes in L.A. That was all shown in slow motion, which didn’t reveal the power of the wind properly: it looked artificial and much too clean. It should have been done at full speed and been totally chaotic: that would have been frightening. Overall, though, the effects are not like anything you’ve seen and make the film worth seeing. I don’t put two cents toward the silly science, and the story’s too ordinary and predictable with no emotional resonance at all, but it’s still a fun amusement park ride.