The Day After Tomorrow

Bomb Rating: 

There's a disaster hurtling toward Earth, and it's this movie.

There's a disaster hurtling toward Earth, and it's this movie.

How big a disaster? Big enough that Hollywood denizens should dive into their underground bunkers and brace for impact. Big enough that the producers would have been better off taking the $125 million budget and flushing it, dollar-by-dollar, down the toilet. Big enough that by the actual day after tomorrow, the only tornadoes destroying L.A. will be the tornadoes of failure decimating the career of any Hollywood executive who was even seen near this project.

"The Day After Tomorrow" is basically weather porn. The acting, story and dialog are but a flimsy pretext to get us to the money shot of a big storm destroying something. However, director Roland Emmerich can't contain himself and delivers a premature climax in the first half of the movie as Los Angeles and New York are torn asunder. Thus spent, the rest of the movie plods its way to a final showdown with a menace best described as "killer frost." If you can get away with paying half price and leaving early, you'll be ahead of the game.

Emmerich delves deeply into the same bag of tricks he used in "Independence Day": Instead of fleeing encroaching spaceships, death rays and walls of flame, the movie's assorted extras flee encroaching hurricanes, tornadoes and walls of water. Many of the same characters return as well. Dennis Quaid (which is what you get for acting talent when you blow the budget on special effects) plays the dedicated scientist, Jack Hall, who must convince skeptical government officials that disaster is imminent. Jack's estranged wife, Dr. Lucy Hall (Sela Ward), can't evacuate because she must stay with a doe-eyed child cancer patient. Jack basically walks from D.C. to New York in a blizzard to find his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) who's holed up in the New York public library. Sam and his friends brave the elements in search of medicine, but instead of breaking into the nearest pharmacy, they venture out to a frozen Russian freighter filled with wolves. The phrase "No! I'm going with you!" is probably uttered a half-dozen times.

In the end, "The Day After Tomorrow" is as much morality tale as disaster film. It turns out that global warming and sudden climate change are "bad." Nothing discredits a liberal cause like an actual liberal, and Roland's inane story, flimsy characters, bad dialog and blunt, patronizing moralizing do more damage to environmental causes than if Dick Cheney himself were whipping shitties in his Hummer in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The final line of the movie is something along the lines of, "Look! The nations of the world are hugging!"

Seek immediate shelter from "The Day After Tomorrow."

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