The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow

**1/2

Reviewed by: David Stanners

With bulldozing blockbusters such as Stargate, Independence Day and Godzilla to his name, Roland Emmerich is one of Hollywood's key players in the creation of big screen disasters.

His latest opus is an apocalyptic scenario, featuring the world on the brink of death and destruction. For reasons only Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), a distinguished climatologist, is able to understand and explain, global warming has taken a U-turn and the biggest freeze since the first ice age is on its way.

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Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is Jack's son, a straight A student on his way to his prep school quiz in New York. He's only there for the nooky, in the shape of Laura Chapman (Emmy Rossum), a smart, beautiful girl he's too shy to ask out. Meanwhile, the country is getting colder and, as a spectacular chill spreads from West to East, the whole of Manhattan finds itself flooded in truly spectacular fashion. Ms Liberty is almost drowned and the city overwhelmed by a colossal tsunami.

It sounds spectacular, but this is really just another disaster movie, boosted by a decent concept and incredibly impressive special effects, which are irreparably jolted by a shoddy script, one-dimensional plot and sluggish pace.

There are some nice tongue-in-cheek moments, such as the Hollywood sign getting blown apart by a hurricane, and a silly journalist trying to report from the middle of a death zone, getting belted into oblivion by flying debris.

New York under hundreds of feet of snow has been brilliantly generated and both the giant tidal waves and multi tornados are expertly choreographed.

Still, great CGI is one thing; a great film is something entirely different. Once again, the Hollywood grinder has put all its eggs in one basket and forgotten about the one thing that makes a film work - storytelling. The plot features Mr Quaid's attempt to rescue his son, which in the scheme of a phenomenon, which courts death on an epic scale, seems rather minute.

Through the middle section, inertia creeps in and, after the onslaught of nature's true muscle, we're left twiddling our thumbs, awaiting the most obvious of endings to unravel.

Quaid has been out of favour for a while, so this may resurrect his flagging career. Gyllenhaal, a promising talent made famous by Donnie Darko, does what he needs to and that's that. He'll leave with a considerably sturdier bank balance. Ian Holm makes a cameo appearance as a scientist, but his talent is wasted in such a witless role.

Still, who'd be daft enough to say no to a slice of the box office returns on this one?

Reviewed on: 28 May 2004
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The Day After Tomorrow packshot
Dennis Quaid is a climatologist, trying to save his son, as the country is taken over by a freak ice age.
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Jennie Kermode **1/2

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writer: Roland Emmerich

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, Dash Mihok, Jay O. Sanders, Sela Ward, Austin Nichols, Arjay Smith, Tamlyn Tomita, Sasha Roiz, Ian Holm

Year: 2004

Runtime: 124 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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