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June 8, 2004 > Day After Tomorrow

Day After Tomorrow

Director: Roland Emmerich

by Jeremy Inman

Imagine Los Angeles innundated with tornadoes and hail the size of a soccer ball or the streets of New York City flooded to the fourth story of every building after being hit by an enormous tidal wave. These are just some of the horrifying images brought to the screen by Independence Day director Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow.

When a portion of the polar ice caps breaks off, the resulting surge of fresh water into the North Atlantic current triggers a massive climate shift. The result: innumerable climatic catastrophes of biblical proportions. World weather patterns become increasing irregular and dangerous. Climatologist Jack Hall (Denis Quaid) has a theory regarding the weather abnormalities, but, typical of large scale disaster flicks, nobody listens until it's too late. A massive storm, spanning the entire northern hemisphere, changes the face of the planet in less than a week.

Caught within the cacophony of computer-generated catastrophes (most given away in promotional trailers) is the usual cast of disaster movie clichŽs, especially the crafty, eccentric Sam Hall, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Viewers will relate to characters in The Day After Tomorrow, even though they serve primarily as vehicles to display the disaster. Most dialogue serves only to advance the plot or squeeze in an anti-pollution message. Veterans of disaster films know that these epics are not designed for character development. Still, the film brings viewers close enough to root for protagonists. The Day After Tomorrow tops any recent disaster flicks including The Core and Armageddon. Topnotch computer generated effects, succinct storytelling, and plenty of "Did you see that!?" moments, The Day After Tomorrow is a colossal disaster film worthy of viewing.

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