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THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, 2004
Movie Reviews!

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THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, 2004
Movie Review
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal
Review by Matthew Toffolo




SYNOPSIS:

A climatologist tries to figure out a way to save the world from abrupt global warming. He must get to his young son in New York, which is being taken over by a new ice age.

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REVIEW:

I remember watching this film in the theater when it came out in the summer of 2004 and wondering why they named it The Day After Tomorrow.

The film takes place in a span of about 10 days detailing the new ice age and how a father's love for his son forces him to journey to frozen over New York City to save him. But why The Day After Tomorrow? Was it because The Ice Age title was used already?

I guess it's supposed to be a message to us saying that in the day after tomorrow we could be going through this if we don't keep messing up our world buy using all of its natural resources.

This is a great concept that I really got into again when I revisited the film. I just watched Roland Emmerich's film The Patriot because of Heath Ledger. As of this writing it's right after Ledger won the Supporting Actor Oscar for playing The Joker and it made me want to see his first Hollywood film. I enjoyed the film-making experience of The Patriot but not really the movie (if that makes any sense!), so it made me want to watch another Emmerich film. I noticed that I had a copy of The Day After Tomorrow (part of the Jake Gyllenhaal DVD collection), and put it on.

The first half hour of this film, the basic setup of the world going through another ice age, was really interesting. It was science meets family love meets teenage romance meets social commentary pre-Al Gore/Inconvenient Truth. I really enjoyed it and was completely engaged.

Then the 2nd act begins and it turns into a full fledged Hollywood blockbuster action film with the American flag waving itself not to far behind. The science talk is over and now the story is about how a group of teenagers, librarians and a homeless guy (with a dog of course) survive at the New York Public Library by throwing books into the fire and saving themselves from freezing to death. Then the dad (who is coincidentally a weather specialist/Indiana Jones explorer) takes his crew from Washington DC to New York to save his son even though the rest of the people are going in reverse towards the equator. There is also a third plot detailing Gyllenhaal's mom being a doctor and saving a child cancer patient (which really has nothing to do with anything).

Emmerich is an interesting director in that he's very unique in setting up grand epic stories. I think back to The Patriot, Independence Day and even 10,000 BC and the guy knows how to set up a story in individual moments with his characters while also setting up the gigantic disaster that awaits them all in the background. You can learn a lot about how to write and direct a great 1st Act in his films.

Then the rest of his films, especially The Day After Tomorrow, gets a little hokey. It's a great watch for a lot of people, but for me I guess I'm looking for something more interesting, like the stuff he presents to us in the 1st act.

What bothers me the most about this film and his past films is the guys obsession with dogs. I mean billions of people die in Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, thousands die in horror in The Patriot. But those dogs always survive don't they!

He crossed the line in his portrayal of dogs in The Patriot, but then he seems to journey another 360 degrees to cross the line again in The Day After Tomorrow where the dog survives even though everyone is starving to death for days in the library. I don't want to sound insensitive, but wouldn't they kill the dog so they could eat it so they could survive?

Emmerich appeals to the masses and dog lovers are a part of the masses. I like dogs too, but logic is logic and I hate when they misuse overall logic to pull at the emotional strings of the audience.

The Day After Tomorrow is another well made film, but in the end I stopped caring about who survives because of the obvious devices used to attempt to make us feel. Why couldn't he just go with what he had in the beginning and let it ride. If it's about making money, yes the film might not pull in the opening weekend numbers it did, but in the end the film stands the test of time and makes more money.

And The Day After Tomorrow didn't do that well in the summer of 2004. It was panned by the critics and put others off, besides myself.

This was a film that could of been great and remembered from years to come. But now it's a small part of the Jake Gyllenhaal DVD collection.

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