Related Articles: Movies, All

The Day After Tomorrow

When Climatologists Become Cool

When would nerdy scientists become overnight heroes and The Weather Channel usurp CNN as the cable news channel of choice? When hell, or in this case Manhattan, freezes over. Which is exactly what happens in director Roland Emmerich's (Independence Day (yuck), Godzilla (don't fix what ain't broke), The Patriot) new movie The Day After Tomorrow. Like a Discovery Channel special on steroids, this summer flick looks at what the world, specifically America, would look like if we entered a new Ice Age; the results are horrific yet awe-inspiring.

Nature is the real star of this movie, now if we could only get the humans to shut the hell up. The special effects portraying one natural disaster after another- imagine tornados in L.A., a tsunami in New York City and hale the size of cannonballs in Tokyo- are the real highlight of the movie with the story line being the only thing that taints this otherwise spectacular film. There should have been more emphasis on the science and more footage of how the new world created by the ice age affected other countries besides our own, but this precious screen time was taken up by cheesy dialogue and melodramatic moments between the completely one-dimensional characters.

Dennis Quaid plays Jack Hall, a climatologist (read: fancy weather man) working for the government researching weather patterns from the ice age and the dangerous trend of global warming. When chunks of the polar cap start breaking off and melting into the ocean, a dangerous and fatal weather pattern is created that changes the face of the earth. It sounds far-fetched, but the natural aspects of The Day After Tomorrow are about a hundred times more realistic than the interactions between the characters. After his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), gets stuck in NYC during the storm, Quaid goes on a quest to find him against all odds and the very likely chance that he will die along the way. But as he states with all the flair of a Mexican soap opera actress, "I made a promise and I am going to keep it."

The Day After Tomorrow features a very interesting premise that is, unfortunately, weighed down by a horribly unrealistic and saccharine plot. Thankfully, however, this movie skirts the trend of summer movies and instead of aliens or terrorists, the 'bad guy' here is nature. This 'enemy' forces a completely new world order that, while only briefly referred to, is a fascinating topic to discuss long after the credits roll. For example, what would happen if the countries known as the Third World suddenly inherited the power that all First World countries enjoy? What would the world look like then?