Film Turns Environmentalism Into Big Cheesy Fun

Monday Magazine | August 7, 2004
Sitting through the enviro-apocalyptic thriller The Day After Tomorrow is akin to watching The Weather Network while having a really bad acid trip: tornados tear apart much of Los Angeles, unbelievably massive storms blanket the northern hemisphere and cause flooding of biblical proportions, super-chilled air from the outer atmosphere gets funnelled down to earth and turns any poor soul trapped outside into a literal Mr. Freeze. It’s all due to global warming, of course, as melting polar ice caps “alter the delicate balance of the warm-water currents, resulting in unprecedented weather changes” and yadda yadda yadda. The cardboard characters tasked with illustrating this ludicrously distorted climatological cautionary tale include a paleoclimatologist (an earnestly scruffy Dennis Quaid) and his supersmart but alienated teenage son (Jake Gyllenhaal). There’s a sleazy Vice President who’s an amusing parody of Dick Cheney, and a quartet of timber wolves escape from a zoo in order to reappear an hour later when the thin plot runs out of thrills and needs a new menace to jolt the audience out of its doze. Written and directed by Roland Emmerich (an old pro at hammering the planet, via Independence Day and Godzilla) Tomorrow starts out as cheesy fun. Despite the appalling blizzard of clichéd dialogue in many of the scenes, there is a terrifying grandeur to much of the destruction. Even the heavy-handed political satire works. But after everything has been “blowed up real good” in the first half of the movie, there’s not much left to offer the audience except some predictable father-son pathos as Quaid snowshoes to New York City to try and save Gyllenhaal. As a consciousness-raising vehicle about climate issues, Tomorrow is fine propaganda; as a movie, it sucks like a tornado. Rating: **

Monday Magazine

Founded in 1975 to provide a critical voice in Victoria's political and cultural communities, Monday Magazine continues to shake British Columbia's conservative capital city with tell-it- like-it-is features and reviews. Targeting educated, active adults and Victoria's growing youth market, Monday...
More »
Contact for Reprint Rights
  • Market Served: Metropolitan Area
  • Address: 818 Broughton St., Victoria, BC V8W 1E4
  • Phone: (250) 382-6188