The Day After Tomorrow


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 "...the temperature drops to 150 degrees below zero...  And what could be scarier than that kind of cold?  Perhaps...running out of toothpaste?"




The Day After Tomorrow
The Masked Reviewer

Any movie with a title like The Day After Tomorrow is just asking for confusion. 

"Did you see that new movie?"


"The Day After Tomorrow"

"I said WHICH, not WHEN!"

"I told you which."

"Which?  When?  When do you want to see it?"


"And which movie should we see?"

"The Day After Tomorrow."

...and hilarity and confusion ensues.  You may as well get Abbott and Costello, go listen to "Yesterday", and make a day out of it.

On the other hand, if you actually have to watch The Day After Tomorrow, whether it's today, tomorrow, yesterday, or ever, you may want to think twice.

The movie is written and directed by Roland Emmerich.  You may remember him from such films as Stargate, Independence Day, The Patriot (the one with Mel Gibson, not the one with Steven Segal), and Universal Soldier.  In fact, the trailers for the film all mention "from the producer of Independence Day."  What they should say, however, is "from the makers of Godzilla" because Roland Emmerich is also the driving force behind that giant steaming pile of lizard dung, and The Day After Tomorrow is a lot closer to Godzilla than it is to Independence Day.

Let's start with the good stuff.  It's a disaster movie.  It's a blockbuster.  It's got tons of special effects.  You get to see wanton destruction (as opposed to won ton destruction, such as seen in Dim Sum Nightmare).  There's the whole humanity-triumphing-over-horrible-obstacle thing.

And, let's not forget that Dennis Quaid stars in the film.  There's him, and...Sela Ward.  And...Jake Gyllenhaal.  Not only that, there's Emmy Rossum, Ian Holm, Jay O. Sanders, Austin Nichols, and Dash Mihok.  Who names a kid "Dash"?  Did he come sprinting out at birth?  Were all the other cool punctuation names taken?  "This is Dash and his brothers Apostrophe, Ampersand, and Parentheses.  You've already met his sister Tilde and his Uncle Backslash..."

Okay, so the movie isn't loaded with big name stars.  That's okay.  It's about the action, right?

The Masked Reviewer won't give away anything about the film...fortunately, there's not much to give away.  It's about Global Warming.  A paleoclimatologist (is there such a thing?  Someone who studies ancient weather patterns?  What kind of job is that?  How much work do those guys get?) discovers that due to human neglect, Earth is going to have another ice age in the next 100 to 1000 years.  It turns out that his calculations were a bit off, and the entire ice age hits in 72 hours.  Wow.  Those ice ages can really sneak up on you, can't they? 

The movie features all kinds of natural disasters.  There are tidal waves, giant cantaloupe-sized hail stones, mega-tornadoes (they make the ones in Twister look puny and pathetic), and freezing cold.  Freezing cold?  What's so terrifying about that.  Did the Masked Reviewer mention that it's really cold?  They say that the temperature drops to 150 degrees below zero.  That's cold.  Seems kind of unlikely, though they give an explanation of how it could happen.  And what could be scarier than that kind of cold?  Perhaps...running out of toothpaste?  C'mon!  The big threat isn't a giant fire-breathing nuclear lizard or a billion aliens attacking with advanced technology, it's ... nippiness.  Put on a sweater!  There are scenes where a cold front moves in and...people run away from itIce crystals form on walls as they run down the hallway to escape it. comes the frost!  Look out!

The writing for this flick is way stupid.  You don't have to understand a lot about science to realize that the filmmakers know nothing about science.  In interviews, the filmmakers like to talk about all the science they used in this movie.  Imagine someone collecting a bunch of science, then writing a movie that ignores all of it.  The Cat in the Hat has better science going for it.  In fact, environmentalists will probably choke on their tofu when they see's so bad and so far off that it may actually hurt their cause.  People may begin to think of global warming as the same kind of threat as, say, ALIEN INVASION. 

There's a lot of preachiness in the movie too.  The US government officials are shown as ignorant blowhards who are only thinking about the economy rather than this impending doom.  Scientists are ignored.  And, 72 hours later, the scientists are proven right.  What do they do then?  They say I told you so.  There's a lot of that.  Are scientists really that whiny? 

Here's another problem with the's an effects movie.  The "money shots" are the destruction of L.A. and Manhattan.  The trouble is, we've seen both cities destroyed by computer graphics many times.  Roland Emmerich destroyed Manhattan with a giant alien death beam in Independence Day, and then destroyed Manhattan with a giant lizard in Godzilla and now he's using a tidal wave.  Why does Roland Emmerich hate Manhattan?  Was his car towed away there?  Did they lose his bags at Laguardia?  Not only are the big destruction scenes lacking, but they use too many computer effects.  There are some wolves in the movie.  They are created with computer graphics.  Have you seen any animal in a movie that's entirely computer generated that looks like a real animal?  The Masked Reviewer hasn't.  It looks like a computer generated animal.  For some reason, people still say "Wow, those effects are great!" If those effects are great, you don't know they're effects.  No one thinks they're seeing real wolves.  They're nice looking computer generated wolves, but how scary is a computer generated wolf?  They also used computer generated effects to create condensation forming when people exhaled to show that it's cold.  The trouble is, it didn't look right.  It looked close, but not right.  So, something that you might barely notice on a subconscious level becomes something you are aware of as being wrong.  Breath doesn't look like that.  Couldn't they have just shot the actors in a refrigerated room?  Oh no, that'd be cold.  Do it digitally.  Well, that's exciting.

There's a homeless character in the movie.  He has a dog.  Will the dog survive?  The Masked Reviewer won't spoil anything for you.  But, the homeless guy does turn out to be very helpful.  See, he lived on the streets, so he knows all these survival tricks that come in handy when IT'S 150 DEGREES BELOW ZERO OUTSIDE.  He's persecuted in the beginning of the film, but his wisdom turns out to be invaluable.  That's nice. 

At one point, the President of the United States addresses the nation in a time of crisis...on the Weather Channel.  The Weather Channel?  Why is the President on the Weather Channel?  More astute viewers of the film may realize that the only stations shown in the movie are all owned by Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox.  The movie was produced by 20th Century Fox.  Hmmm...coincidence?

So, this big storm wipes out the world.  Necessity requires a massive evacuation at one point.  People north of a certain line have to move.  What about Canada?  They're screwed.  No one mentions Canada.  So, Canada haters may find something to like about this movie.

Oh, it's not a good movie.  The acting is barely noticeable, it's one effect after another.  It's supposed to be a natural phenomenon, but a space monster would've been more convincing.  Perhaps they shouldn't have tried to make it sound like this is something that could really The Core.  Just make it up and don't pretend it's real.  Don't lecture us.  The bigger problem is that the effects aren't spectacular enough to carry the movie.  You've seen better disaster movies in The Perfect Storm, Volcano, Twister, Independence Day, Towering Inferno...the list goes on.  In fact, it's hard to think of a worse disaster film.  And sadly, while it teeters on the edge of being so bad that it's actually funny and campy, it never quite makes it.  It does have a few intentionally funny moments, but there are a lot more unintentionally funny moments. 

The moral, of course, is RECYCLE OR DIE!


Expectation from the Title: The sequel to the sequel to the sequel of Yesterday.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  It's an excellent way to visually illustrate the age old adage that you should never leave home without a warm hat.

The Pros: It's a great source of bad science to make fun of, there are special effects galore if you like that kind of thing.

The Cons: It's less believable than fiction, pretending to be based on science.  Running from frost.  Digital wolves.  Yeesh.


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