The Final Word
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Written by Graham Reed  
Thursday, 27 May 2004

Think Independence Day. With Icebergs. And Tidal Waves. And Tornado's? And just what has director Roland Emmerich got against New York?



I mean in 3 out of his past 4 films, he's laid waste to New York.And not in a piddling manner either. In megablockbuster Independence Day,

he had aliens wipe out the planet, slaughtering milions. And where do the aliens attack first? New York. In Godzilla....Godzilla attacks New York, destroying buildings left right and centre , getting chased by subs and heatseeking missles, and causing utter mayhem. In Day After Tomorrow, he submerges New York under Tidal Waves, Rain, Ice, and then ...then it gets really bad. In fact, the only reason he couldn't destroy New York in The Patriot was because it was a  American War of independence epic wanna be, and invading space aliens, nukes and overgrown lizards would look a little out of place. What you gonna fight em with? Machetes? a pick axe?!

Either way, if you've come for no brainer blockbuster cheesy fun with a side order of FX spectaculars and stuff getting destroyed for no apparent reason, you've come to the right place. And for once, the Americans don't save the world with military weaponry. No siree, they get their asses whooped big style, decamping wholesale to Mexico. (spoiler) All the best trained marines in the world can't dig the world out of the enviromental mess they've got themselves into this time.

Remember the old disaster pictures of the 70's? Earthquake? Towering Inferno? Posideon Adventure?  Well, this is a disaster movie ramped up for the new millenium. As for the plot well its a bit of a straightforward no brainer. Starting off with an iceshelf collapsing and floating off as a mere precursor, in mere days the world's enviroment is messing up. Big time. The oceans swell and rise. Los Angeles is swamped by building destroying tornadoes. New York flooded. European turned into one big skiing resort thousands of miles across. Its like a cross between Independence Day and the Perfect Storm.  And somewhere in the middle, govt. scientist Dennis Quaid has his estranged son Jake Glythenhall from Donnie Darko trapped in New York... right in the middle of it all.

Remember those bits in Sim City when your town gets trashed by random outbreaks of tornadoes? Well this it is, movie stylee, and If I was Electronic Arts, i'd sue.  And the posters are misleading - we never get to see big ben flooded at all. or anywhere outside America get trashed properly - just a hailstorm in Japan, and that doesn't count. The main thing most Americans will come out of this movie thinking is jeez, does it really snow that much in Scotland? And thats not a good thing. Especially when all we see of Scotland is one hut......

Well, its a huge, dumb, enjoyable popcorn munching blockbuster with shedloads of FX (some dodgy and that obviously looked better in the mind of the director, some pretty damn good)  and visual spectacle.  We ain't expecting any oscars here - except for FX and sound - but a good night's fun with lots of spectacle and a pro-ecological message, some slight digs at government shortsightedness, and either way you look at it, you get bang for the buck with this mega-budgeted disaster B-movie. It ain't spent on the stars, but on the FX and boy, doesnt it show. And not necessarily a happy ending either, thank god.

Switch your brain off. Open your eyes. Sit back and enjoy the ride.It's all you can do.......




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