Subscribe RSS
Monday (do you see what I did?) May 29

Went to see The Day After Tomorrow on Thursday. I’m not a big fan of films built around special effects, of which this is a prime example, but I really enjoyed it. Minor spoilers follow.

The basic premise, of a worldwide catastrophe brought about by global warming, is tremendously propagandist but nevertheless welcome in an age when the world’s biggest polluter doesn’t seem to interested in not destroying the planet. In order to show this devastation, by way of some fantastic CGI (as well as the occasional vista that looks like it had been painted), a story in which “While the weather takes control, One Man searches for his son” was thrown together. His quest achieves absolutely nothing (apart from the death of one of his best friends), since his son would have survived just as well if he hadn’t bothered. However, this flimsy premise provides the weak engine that keeps the tale moving forward, allowing each computer-generated set piece to show itself off.

The performances are competent, even if some the actors are giving it their melodramatic best. Jake Gyllenhaal does particularly well in his first blockbuster lead, albeit having to play a character not designed for the average audience member to empathise with: too-clever-by-half straight A students are not the most likeable characters around (someone should inform the producers of Big Brother too).

There are a number of British characters played by British actors, which is always nice. There is a clear attempt to be authentically, rather than stereotypically, English, although that doesn’t stop Ian Holm inviting Dennis Quaid for a cup of tea. (It is heavily implied, but not stated, that most of the Royal Family freeze to death.)

Some OK acting and a few witty lines aside, the film’s star is undoubtedly the freak weather conditions brought on by some technobabble about Atlantic currents. The water is realistic, the blizzards are believable, and the destruction of Los Angeles is awesome.

If you see one no-brainer disaster movie this summer, make it this one. It has a strong message, but the lack of empathy characters or a strong story mean it’s a message without longevity. You’ll come out of the cinema determined to do more to protect the environment. And five minutes later you’ll be filling up with petrol on the way home…

Comments are closed.