003797Reviews & Counting
The Day After Tomorrow
DVD disk
10.20.2004 By: Mike Sampson
The Day After Tomorrow order
Roland Emmerich

Dennis Quaid
Jake Gyllenhaal
Emmy Rossum


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If you've seen the commercial (and I'm sure you have by this point) you know the basic crux of the film. Global warming is causing a rapid shift in the global climate bringing on hail the size of cantaloupes, tornados in Los Angeles and a little water problem in New York. Carnage ensues.
Was it a good movie? Um...no. Was it an enjoyable movie? Yeah, it kinda was. It's from the director of INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA so it's certainly not THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION but it's more like....a cross between INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA...only without the aliens or giant monster! The movie starts as Dennis Quaid (a paleoclimatologist) is sermonizing to a UN-like group of delegates and foreign dignataries. "We've got to save the environment, blah, blah! Or else in 100 years we could all freeze up like a gallon of ice cream. Mmm...ice cream..." His bold prediction is met with skepticism from the grumpy Dick Cheney un-named Vice President. And rightly so since DQ's prediction was way off...by about 100 years...since this global weather shift starts almost immediately after the meeting is over. Seriously.

At said meeting, D-Nice meets up with a short, hobbit-looking fellow who warns him, "Don't ye take (Ian Holm) me pot o' gold," or something to that effect. He may have actually been a fellow weather groupie, tracking the weather from a remote Scottish facility. And then there's the issue of Q's son, who looks like he should be finishing up grad school but is, in fact, still in high school. The little scamp is having trouble at school even though he's really, really smart. His teacher just has it out for him, like they do for all misunderstood geniuses. But Li'l Quaid still makes his way to New York for some type of scholarly competition with fellow geeks from around the country. Then the storms come, a LA reporter gets streamrolled by a billboard, a drunken Japanese businessman gets pummeled by hail, a helicopter pilot freezes solid in about 5 seconds and Ian Holm's character just up and disappears. Oh, the humanity of it all!

At the end of the day this could have been a really cool 30-minute movie. But instead they had to stretch out the already basic plot of "weather destroys Earth" thinner than either of the Olsen twins. There's the father/son subplot, the mother/cancer patient subplot, the Ian Holm subplot, the Jake G./Emmy Rossum/unknown punk love triangle subplot, etc, etc. Silly things are concocted out of thin area to create drama like a bunch of ravenous wolves out on the prowl. DQ hikes from Philadelphia to New York. Lugging all kinds of heavy equipment. In an arctic freeze. And saying all this, you'd think I hated the movie. But I didn't. It really wasn't an exercise in cinematic storytelling but it was an entertaining piece of eye candy. The special effects (75% of which you've seen in commercials, trailers, etc.) are amazing and give the film all the 'oomph' it needs to make it watchable. And the real find of the film is actress Emmy Rossum, who bears a slight resemblance to a younger Julia Roberts. Eventually this film may be remembered more because it was her first major film than for anything else. That said, the wife, who was watching with me, was asleep shortly after the deep freeze hit NYC. So - like tequila - it's not for everyone. It'll make some people gag with disgust, while others can stomach enough of it to have a pretty good time.
Audio Commentary by Director Roland Emmerich and producer Mark Gordon: Interesting only for Gordon's...unusual approach to commentating on a pretty vanilla film that could be suitable for the whole fam. My suggestion? Don't let the kiddies listen to Gordon rant and rave and ramble on. Skip to the next commentary instead.

Audio Commentary by Co-Writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Director Of Photography Ulei Steiger, Editor David Brenner and Production Designer Barry Chusid: This is the commentary I enjoyed listening to much more. Perhaps it's cause I'm more of a "movie geek" and much more interested in the technical aspects of a movie such as this one. Here you can find all the dish on the film's special effects and how things were shot. Considering the grand scale of some of the FX, it's really fascinating (and often surprising) to hear what utilized CGI and what was traditional.

Deleted / Extended Scenes: Two added scenes, which unfortunately add very little and are really just "alternate" scenes to ones that exist in the movie as is. But considering how slight the film is already, I can't image too much was cut out. I'd think - if anything - they had to keep adding stuff in...

Audio Demo: Here you can take a scene and re-edit the sound design, which sounds like it might be fun, but would probably benefit from someone from the sound team of the film talking a little bit more about what goes into this type of thing since most of us have no clue.

DVD-ROM: There were supposed to be a whole mess of features available once you popped this disc into your computer and let your DVD-ROM drive go wild. That, in theory, would be great...if it worked. The DVD wanted you to install some type of software to play their features and that software didn't jive with my computer. I talked to a few other people and they had similar problems. Perhaps it was an issue limited to screener discs, but I like to consider myself somewhat tech-savvy but even I gave up after a while.
It seems to me that this here disc is just one of those DVDs that's buying time until the 2-disc special edition comes along. There's GOT to be much more to this movie than is included on this disc. I mean, they have a giant tidal wave flooding New York for chrissake! Tell me more, tell me more (did she put up a fight?)! The movie is "check your brain" type fun, but the disc unfortunately won't add much to your viewing pleasure. It's sad when the disc's "preview" section (featuring an extended look at MR. AND MRS. SMITH with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) is the best part... Not as bad as you may have heard, but not as fun as the commercials and marketing made it seem, DAY AFTER TOMORROW will satisfy you, but won't stay with you much longer than that.
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