The Day After Tomorrow

Released: May 28, 2004
Budget: $125 million
US Box Office: $187 million
Global Box Office: $543 million

Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, Dash Mihok, Jay O. Sanders, Sela Ward, Austin Nichols

Synopsis: Global warming triggers a series of catastrophic storms which ultimately usher in a new ice age.
Best Quote: "I think we've hit a critical desalinization point"

Review: 3 stars

The Day After Tomorrow demonstrates that, when it comes to disaster movies, sometimes bigger is better. Disaster vet Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) pulls out all of the stops to deliver a big-budget action flick that is a hell of a lot of fun.

Within the first hour, Emmerich gives us glacial fissures, tornadoes in Los Angeles, deadly hail in Tokyo, snow in New Delhi, and a tanker floating down the flooded streets of Manhattan. When the film runs out of traditional natural disasters it starts to make up new ones, such as hurricanes over land and super cold air sucked down from the stratosphere. No expense is spared on the special effects and I am grateful for that.

Aside from the top-notch CG, there are a couple of other things that give this film its epic feel without the epic length. For one, it has the balls to kill the President and really screw thigns up on the global scale. Destruction across continents is common for invasion movies, but is something that we don't really see in natural disaster films. The whole experience is more immersive when you know the heroes can't just go to the next town over and everything will be ok. I also think that Emmerich does a good job of keeping multiple storylines going so we don't get too bored at any points. Sure, a couple of the threads are completely inane (esp. the one with rabid wolves on the aforementioned tanker), but there is enough star power from Quaid and Gyllenhaal to keep things rolling. The dialogue is cliché and the emotions are sappy, but isn't that exactly what we want to see when we are pulling for humanity to make it?

I should probably mention that I enjoyed this movie more than the average person. Critics point out the science is wrong, the global warming message is heavy handed, and the acting is poor, but I counter that this movie was first and foremost made for our entertainment. In that respect, it is a true winner.