Science fiction and fantasy
The Day After Tomorrow
directed by Roland Emmerich
Everything happens very quickly. People have to rush to save themselves and don't have much time to stand around debating about who has the best climate model. As you may have guessed, this is a film that doesn't let actual science get in the way of a good apocalypse. It's not based on any theory touted by real scientists, although some do suggest that global warming could disrupt the flow of the ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream, which would lead to certain areas getting cooler. That's about as close as the film comes to being believable, before it flies off into the realms of pure fantasy. Roland Emmerich has opted to make this an effects-laden disaster movie. But by choosing spectacular effects over likely scenarios he has, ironically, lessened its impact.
The story focuses on Jack Hall's family. Sam Hall (Jake Gyllenhaal) a smart student who doesn't get to spend enough time with his father, is in New York for a quiz competition. He's in love with one of the girls on his quiz team. His mother is working in a hospital, so when disaster strikes the whole family is split up. As the weather draws in they, and others, have to do what they can to survive and to help as many people as possible stay alive. Opportunities for heroism and self-sacrifice abound, so that Emmerich manages to turn a story of hubris into a triumph of the American spirit. Millions of people may die, but their fates are insignificant next to the story of one boy and his father.
The Day After Tomorrow is undoubtedly an attractive movie, with superb imagery. But it's overly melodramatic, full of so many improbably heroic people that the end result is quite cloying.
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Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Roland Emmerich
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