The Day after Tomorrow
Disaster/US/English (Japanese subtitles)/124mins
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum
Director: Roland Emerich
20th Century Fox
Over the next twenty years climate change will bring Siberian weather to
temperate European and US cities, drown coastal conurbations, cause widespread
rioting, pitch nations into conflict over dwindling space and resources,
displace millions and greatly increase the chances of a nuclear exchange.
This is not the plot of The Day after Tomorrow, these are the findings
of a Pentagon national security review leaked earlier this year, that claims
global warming is a greater threat to US and world security than terrorism
or rogue states.
A pretty scary vision. So why does director/writer/environmentalist Roland
Emerich, when he is on an obvious mission to persuade, and when there is
so many urgent real world problems, create such a patently absurd vision
of climatic calamity?
In Emerich’s version, the process of change is compressed into a
matter of days, with mega storms sucking super-cooled air from the troposphere
and creating an instant ice age across the northern hemisphere and almost
everyone freezing to death.
As is the way with disaster pics, the story hinges on the one man with
all the answers, in this case Dennis Quaid, a climatologist who tries to
convince a sceptical US government of the dangers in store and then walks
through a raging blizzard from Philadelphia to New York to find his son.
His son, being a chip off the old block, is busy keeping a cool head when
all around are getting theirs frozen, saving lives and impressing his teenage
girlfriend into undying love. Quaid has a wife too, who exists only to
fret about her son and provide an irrelevant sub plot about a cancer-stricken
Aside from a call to environmental arms, the film is the ultimate disaster
flick and disaster is what Emerich excels at. With the aid of CG we see
LA demolished by twisters and New York swamped by a tidal wave and then
buried in ice. Along the way he sneaks in some nice jibes at the smugness
of the developed world.
In his mission to persuade, Emerich falls out the pulpit. In his mission
to thrill, he provides a rollocking good yarn.
Review by Chris Page