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Overall Rating
3.29

Awesome: 19.32%
Worth A Look37.68%
Just Average: 15.46%
Pretty Crappy: 7.73%
Sucks: 19.81%

9 reviews, 153 user ratings


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Day After Tomorrow, The
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by Mel Valentin

"Cheesy fun + a environmental message to warm liberal hearts."
4 stars

The disaster movie genre has now progressed, if "progressed" is the right word, from the local ("The Poseidon Adventure," "The Towering Inferno") to the regional ("Earthquake") to the global ("Independence Day"). Switching from an alien invasion promising a non-biblical Armageddon in "Independence Day," to a catastrophic worldwide environmental disaster (initiated by man-made global warming) in "The Day After Tomorrow," director Roland Emmerich has crafted one of the better films in the genre, even with the occasional cheesy or hyperbolic moment (Emmerich staples).

In The Day After Tomorrow, global warming has caused the polar ice caps to melt, which in turn has created a massive influx of freshwater into the world's oceans. The freshwater infusion results in lowered ocean water temperature, hailstorms, snowstorms, and eventually, a new ice age. Probable? Not likely, at least not in the brief timeframe envisioned in The Day After Tomorrow's (months become weeks, weeks become days). Plausible? Over time, perhaps, but more importantly, just plausible enough for audiences to (temporarily) suspend their disbelief, and lose themselves in a simple (and simplistic) survivalist tale.

The Day After Tomorrow delivers spectacle with CGI-landscapes and (more or less) realistically depicted set pieces. Playing to the current strengths of CGI, Emmerich doesn't animate humans or animals (with the exception of one sequence late in the film). Instead CGI is used to portray shifting and threatening weather patterns, storms, tornadoes, the aftermath, and the approaching ice age. Any big-budget disaster movie succeeds or fails with its set pieces, and The Day After Tomorrow doesn't disappoint: the opening scene features an ice shelf calving off the coast of Antarctica; later, a series of tornadoes descend on Los Angeles; later still, a giant tidal wave sweeps through Manhattan, trapping a small group of survivors in the New York Public Library as the "big freeze" approaches from the north. From there, the narrative place slows, and the set pieces are replaced by human drama, following various groups of survivors attempting to escape the freezing weather by migrating South with an ironic touch: Americans overrunning the U.S./Mexico border and crossing the Rio Grande. Canada (and Canadians), alas, doesn't even get a mention (presumably Canada's northern location dooms all its inhabitants to icy deaths).

The Day After Tomorrow centers on Sam Hall (Dennis Quaid), a paleo-climatologist, as he attempts to work his way back North from a now frozen over Washington, D.C. to his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Manhattan, who's trying to keep himself and his friends alive long enough for his father to rescue them. The intense, short scenes in the first hour, which introduce primary and secondary characters (and sometimes tertiary characters), setting, and different levels of antagonism, from the disbelieving administration in Washington D.C. to the forces of nature, are all underscored by a sense of immediacy and urgency. Not surprisingly, after the tidal wave set piece at the mid-point of the film, The Day After Tomorrow begins to drag. The early, intense scenes eventually give way to soporific and clichéd character moments in the second half, showing Emmerich at his worst.

Performance wise, Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead roles, to the supporting roles, Sela Ward as Quaid's estranged wife tending to a young cancer patient (yes, we're in soap opera territory here), and Ian Holm, as a fellow scientist isolated in a Scottish research station, all do remarkably well, given the limitations of the material (some of the dialogue is on occasion painfully "on-the-nose," and Emmerich's strengths as a filmmaker show themselves in the elaborate set pieces, and not in the emotionally grounded character moments).

For better or for worse, Emmerich and his co-screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff inject mild political satire into The Day After Tomorrow. The U.S. president, Blake (Perry King), is clearly modeled on the current occupant of the White House; he's telegenic, but short on smarts or decisiveness. In fact, he's controlled by the vice-president, Becker (Kenneth Walsh). The U.S. vice-president is the closest the film comes to a human antagonist: he's ideologically driven and blind to real-world events, responding slowly to the unfolding environmental disaster. He's also saddled with a thinly disguised (if risible) speech at the end of the film that clearly targets the current administration's (failed) environmental policies. Still, how often does a big-budget disaster film reflect a liberal political agenda, even one as blatantly obvious as the one in The Day After Tomorrow's?

Emmerich also proves himself a liberal, secular humanist, reaffirming an apparently unshakeable belief in community and cooperation. No one in "The Day After Tomorrow" acts out of greed, venality, or cruelty (with the exception of the U.S. vice-president, of course). Truthful? Not likely, but that's where the words "escapism" and "entertainment" come in. Emmerich wants to believe in humanity's inherent altruism and compassion. Even more importantly, the audience does too. Overall, for the narrative pace, drive, and efficiency of the first hour (equaled only briefly in the second hour, at the climax), the near flawless CGI set pieces, and the credible performances from the cast, "The Day After Tomorrow" deserves a strong, if qualified, recommendation.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9640&reviewer=402
originally posted: 05/27/05 23:02:33
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell boring disaster flick good fx though 1 stars
2/14/14 Talal Al-Khaldi It was an OK movie. Special effects were the only thing going for it. Dialogue was terrible 3 stars
2/25/13 Mario Segale It's just like mama used to make! 5 stars
1/30/13 Bart If this movie is on I ALWAYS want to watch it! It does exactly what it's supposed to do. 5 stars
10/04/12 mike miller see this one mainly for the effects 3 stars
2/19/11 Ark Not bad, but formulaic! 4 stars
8/16/10 teachinla Doesn't do the global-warming warners any favors. Its science was ludicrous. 2 stars
7/31/10 Imogen Jones If this is such an enviromental movie, why make wolves look bad? They're nature too! 3 stars
5/20/09 Jake Shit "review". More of a bashing. And Penicillin is a latin phrase, universal for science 3 stars
4/05/09 Monica Hands down worst movie ever made. Absolutely laughable 1 stars
11/26/08 R.W. Welch Hokey disaster flick fails to grab, but has some good FX. 2 stars
11/25/08 Leo T crummy title, crummy movie 1 stars
10/23/08 action movie fan the best movie of 2004-great original story terrific in every way 5 stars
9/30/08 Shaun Wallner Great Movie!! 5 stars
6/18/08 OddworldPoop I'm giving it five for making me laugh and point at how pathetic and overrated it all was. 5 stars
6/07/08 PAUL SHORTT HINTS AT OUR FRAGILE HUMANITY AND TRIES TO PUT A FAMILIAR FACE TO MISERY 3 stars
5/16/08 James Dean sucked. absolutely sucked 1 stars
5/03/08 mark madsen why do people think that this could not happen is beyond me 5 stars
3/22/08 Rob g This is a terrible film. It makes no logical sense. It makes me want to punch Roland Emmerw 1 stars
3/07/08 Pamela White Shows that weather will happen even if we count our carbon credits 5 stars
11/17/07 Tee Effects - 7 Acting & Script - 0 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Schmaltzy,cartoonish poo that makes "Independence Day" look like "Citizen Kane"! 1 stars
7/22/07 SCOTTIE WORST MOVIE EVER...! 1 stars
6/08/07 Danielle Ophelia I've this theory that a Gyllenhaal could make a Plan 9 redux work. 4 stars
4/22/07 David Risser This was a disaster, completely fake and unrealistic, highly overated 1 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Global warming isn't going to happen for a million billion years. Good film. 4 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega The day after, you learn to like it. 3 stars
1/11/07 Matt It isn't about to happen so just ENJOY the fun 5 stars
12/27/06 Richard Paquette ho-hum 2 stars
12/04/06 Stanley Thai A promising thriller. Great SP FX and action scenes! Casts' performance are great. 4 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini great fx 5 stars
8/15/06 gem awsum as 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Clever,suspenseful,fascinating,Although some dragging, it is ownable!! 4 stars
7/08/06 Anthony Feor Goes from fun to boring 3 stars
6/15/06 Michele clever 3 stars
6/13/06 oola suspenseful... interesting 4 stars
5/16/06 rocky I thought the way the used little side storys was awsome!!! 5 stars
4/13/06 MP Bartley Best bit = where they tried to outrun cold. Looks terrific and great fun. 4 stars
3/17/06 Bobert This movie was soooo awsome 5 stars
3/11/06 the laughing man Everything was great, except for Dennis Quaid. 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk Emmerichs second best movie. Only Godzilla is better 4 stars
2/06/06 Anthony Good weather flick 4 stars
1/02/06 cody a cool visual effects movie with good subplot and good perf. by dennis, that's all 3 stars
11/12/05 Quigley what this film lacks in acting talent, plot and script is made up for with awesome visuals 5 stars
10/26/05 chris a not bad movie have seen better and have seen worse 3 stars
10/19/05 Agent Sands Unlike other Hollywood disaster movies, this one shows America with a bit of humility. Good 3 stars
10/06/05 Bob Smith Not bad, worth the seeing. 4 stars
9/25/05 a. kurlovs the first half is quite well done. second - dumb beyond imaginable. 4 stars
8/22/05 ES seen worse, not as bad as I figured 3 stars
8/11/05 Kelly same old disaster story but very entertaining,good effects and Jake Gyllenahal 4 stars
8/06/05 Ed Campbell Another reviewer ignorant of science fiction or science. 5 stars
8/02/05 Sully a solid, fun flick. sometimes you just need to enjoy a movie and not critique it.... 4 stars
8/02/05 Hockeytown Global Catastrophe on ICE!!! 4 stars
8/01/05 George It was good and all but the acting really let this one down 3 stars
7/04/05 NANCY I LOVE IT! AWESOME EFFECTS!!! 5 stars
6/07/05 Darcy only average 3 stars
5/02/05 dwarzel Makes Jurassic Park look like a hotbed of scientific plausibility 1 stars
5/01/05 ed.williams Formilaic, same as all the other disaster movies just a different disaster. 2 stars
4/28/05 Quigley absolutely sick acting from some lead characters, but the CG make this worth it 5 stars
3/31/05 failingloser i like it. it's got a point to get through, you just need to recognise it 5 stars
2/25/05 Danny This is one of the stupidest, worst, unrealistic films I've ever seen. 1 stars
2/10/05 Jeff Anderson Begins greatly, but absolute stupidity quickly takes over! Outstanding special effects!!!!! 2 stars
2/02/05 G-Man best movie ever 5 stars
1/27/05 Charlie Wolves and tornadoes pretty lame. Okay, I guess. 3 stars
1/21/05 Rob McKeown The worst movie in history... absolute crap. 1 stars
1/16/05 JJ utter shite...lol gman also gave attack of the clones 5/5 lmao 1 stars
1/02/05 2012 Mayan thin plot doesn't matter, it's mainly about mans ignorance, nature always wins in the end 4 stars
1/01/05 MyGreenBed Atrocious. A "year's worst" listee. Laughable often (and not in a good Ed Wood way). 1 stars
12/11/04 john a big wave splashes over NY and after that Dennis walks there through the snow - the end 1 stars
12/09/04 Jason Kaul Special Effects=WOW. Plot=Thin @ best. Overall=Gotta have more than effects to please me. 2 stars
12/04/04 HL Quaid walks from PA to NY in blizzard in 38 minutes..oh, he saves the world. 4 stars
11/23/04 Zenny does cheese freeze? 2 stars
11/07/04 Joe Smaltz The crack smoking thing seems Plausible. good Cinematography 1 stars
11/04/04 Duncan I wanted to leave. 1 stars
10/31/04 G-man best movie ever 5 stars
10/23/04 lotrEEproper owns....but this is an utterwank film almost as bad as the others they made like iday and armagedon etc..but it has great effects 1 stars
10/23/04 Doc Shock Amusing. Nothing great, but worth a look for mindless entertainment. 3 stars
10/19/04 Joe I can't believe I paid two bucks to see this. 1 stars
10/18/04 EUGENE ahh it was ok but id rather watch an anal orgy 3 stars
10/16/04 Dan Good 4 stars
10/13/04 Nickydonpablos I thought it was interesting. Atleast it caught my attention and kept the story going. 5 stars
10/13/04 tatum Great FX, but stunted and obvious all over the place 2 stars
10/12/04 American Slasher Goddess Has a lot of plot holes, but it's decent two hour entertainment. 3 stars
10/05/04 Paul BORING! BORING! Save ur time,and just fast forward for the pretty effects! 2 stars
8/07/04 G-man best movie ever....tornadoes, ice overs....just plain awesome 5 stars
8/02/04 Nikolai I laughed a little, and I cried a little. what more can one ask? 1 stars
8/01/04 valerie hart fanatstic 5 stars
7/23/04 Jurko the Great Total crap! 1 stars
7/18/04 assassin_chick Special effects are pretty fun--Great flick if you love apocolyptic movies like we do! 4 stars
7/17/04 legend Good summer flick. Excellent special effects which seemed to run out at end. Bad story. 4 stars
7/10/04 Vince Completely unrealistic, standard hollywood fare action flick, saved by special effects 3 stars
7/07/04 Denise Duspiva Good movie and it made a point 4 stars
6/29/04 Mike C. This movie is SO funny, don't view with a critical eye, just enjoy the comedy and specialFX 4 stars
6/27/04 Dan Denson It used fake science to sell itself, and was I the only one hoping the charcters WOULD die? 1 stars
6/26/04 Koitus Gotta love the bus ON the Porsche, and the anchorman getting plastered by the billboard! 4 stars
6/25/04 M slick sfx movie with a plot......finally! 4 stars
6/20/04 cobretti Laughably bad with some real howlers for dialogue. All the effects are in the trailer. 1 stars
6/18/04 Emily I loved this movie 5 stars
6/16/04 Hilarium Is Darkofnight nuts? He honestly thinks this couldn't be better? My god. Warn the children. 1 stars
6/16/04 Luke Wow i would like to know what goes through the heads of people who think this is good 1 stars
6/14/04 Jack Bourbon Mr. Vice President, why haven't you stopped the making of shitty movies?!?!?! 1 stars
6/13/04 Lord Jiggy Better than you've heard...only film this summer not to disappoint 4 stars
6/12/04 Melina entertaining, but not memorable 4 stars
6/09/04 maxomai Pleasantly thrilling if stupid. 4 stars
6/08/04 Dion Ignore the sci-fi haters - this movie is excellent 5 stars
6/07/04 The Chronic only showed destruction in US and then only in NY & LA, plot too unbelieveable 3 stars
6/05/04 Captain Highcrime Wouldn't ya know it, just when I finally land a decent LA apartment... 4 stars
6/05/04 Melissa I thought this movie was great. It actually frightened me that this could happen. 5 stars
6/05/04 alien assassin Head and shoulders above most disaster films 4 stars
6/04/04 DdMM I should have stuck to my original plan for the evening and gone to the gym... 2 stars
6/04/04 iami I laughed outloud (Literally) when Mexico closed the border to the Amaricans. 4 stars
6/04/04 M Hated wil smith in ID4, hate fake wolves in this one! still awesome though 5 stars
6/03/04 Doc Hollywood nonsensical plot forced romance wolves dennis quaid got the picture? 2 stars
6/03/04 SIr Spam-a-lot Best comedy of the year - oh wait 2 stars
6/02/04 Agent Sands Unlike ID4 & Godzilla, this shows a practical disaser & gives the US some humility. 4 stars
6/02/04 Coolhand How in the hell is this 4 stars? Did the price of crack just drop? 1 stars
6/02/04 William DuBay A great spoof of all the disaster films ever made. One campy cliche after another. 4 stars
6/02/04 man on fire This movie was a pathetic excuse for a political thriller/environmental desaster film. 2 stars
6/01/04 Nicole There were some cool effects, but overall the story was weak 3 stars
6/01/04 Obi Wan Good summer movie. Held it's own and thank god we did without the Nuke it scene! 4 stars
6/01/04 Worthy Slacker A few "money shots" doesn't make a good movie. Totally idiotic. "We walk from here" huh? 1 stars
6/01/04 Mike V An unbelievablly atrocious piece of crap. Boring. Roland Emmerich needs to be stopped. 1 stars
6/01/04 A F Anyone who takes this seriously, needs to take a few science classes. Way over done. 1 stars
6/01/04 Susan the best disaster film i've ever seen...phenomenal special effects 5 stars
6/01/04 Wolf Fascinating flick, a real gripper in parts. Wolves weren't good tho. 4 stars
5/31/04 Charlene Javier Deep Impact of the Twisters 2 stars
5/31/04 Kev Bogus, loaded with disaster movie clichés, and numerous eye-rolling moments... but still ok 3 stars
5/31/04 Maalstrom I was yawning 3 stars
5/31/04 Mike It insults anyone with a brain. 1 stars
5/31/04 Jim Pretty good weather porn. Ice age reminds me of upstate New York in January. 4 stars
5/31/04 ajay effects were good, acting/script *wasn't* as bad as expected 4 stars
5/30/04 Meryl Fuckin' rocked. people who don't like it are just worried cuz their SUVs will make it true, 5 stars
5/30/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Good effects & if you ignore the Hollywood drama, you'll see the kernel of dangerous truthh 4 stars
5/30/04 Lukie hated it - worst film I've seen for years 1 stars
5/30/04 BrianWilly Awesome disaster flick with surprisingly good backstory and acting. 5 stars
5/30/04 Prime Worth seeing for the amazing effects. 4 stars
5/30/04 qemm greatest apocalyptical effects ever 5 stars
5/30/04 Jack Bourbon I've never seen a worse film. You reviewers should have your internet privelages revoked 1 stars
5/30/04 Joanna For a disaster film, it was great! 4 stars
5/29/04 Dan Great SFX, but illogical script and boring characters 2 stars
5/29/04 ALI HBOUS the visual effects are scary 4 stars
5/29/04 M Very "COOL" 5 stars
5/29/04 Cameron Slick Paper-thin plot vs. great vfx, breaks down to caring about the characters - I didn't 3 stars
5/29/04 othree funny,unbelievable,no emotional attachment,familiar casts,see trailers 4 efx 3 stars
5/29/04 Edler Made no sense at all. The special FX dudes bribed the producers to make this idiotic heap. 1 stars
5/29/04 Gray needed better editing + end buildup+ less specific science explanations=more belivable 4 stars
5/28/04 Christina That homeless guy was annoying as hell 5 stars
5/28/04 Bradley Woods save yourself some money and rent the DVD. its extreme silliness is amusingly entertaining. 3 stars
5/27/04 Help! My Brain Is Still Turned Off! Now I need it to erase all the bullshit that was fed me in this film! 1 stars
5/27/04 Sebastián Freigeiro I liked it a lot, great movie, at least for me... 4 stars
5/27/04 P.Rodriguez made me laugh, made me cry.. oh wait wrong movie. Total leave you brain and enjoy flick 5 stars
5/27/04 Over-hyped BORING! No sustanable plot, bad dialogue, only 2 action scenes = TERRIBLE MOVIE! 1 stars
5/23/04 Blakers A great film 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-May-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-May-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  27-May-2004 (M)




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