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:: The Day After Tomorrow

This is big in every sense, and typical of director Roland Emmerich’s eye-popping view of filmmaking. All the special effects and big sequences are evident. Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is a climatologist and his research tells him startling news. The effects of global warming means the possibility of another Ice Age if no action is taken quickly. He and co-workers Frank (Jay O Sanders) and Jason (Dash Mihok) are drilling for cores on the Antarctic ice shelf when a huge piece breaks apart. Jack warns a global warming conference in New Delhi, India of the impending dangers.

Alarms begin to grow. Jack’s colleague Professor Rapson (Ian Holm) detects temperature falls in the North Atlantic. Then, there is news of devastating hail in Tokyo, a hurricane pounds Hawaii, and tornadoes are set to unleash in Los Angeles. With these alarmist threats, Jack is forced to notify White House officials of the need in evacuating whole cities. It would mean millions of Americans having to flee south to Mexico. How ironic!

There is a family drama involved in the story too. Jack and his wife are estranged and their son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), is disaffected. Sam has a crush on classmate Laura (Emmy Rossum) and is on a school trip in New York when a super storm holes up Manhattan. Sam, Laura, and other classmates take refuge in the City Library building and they even burn books to keep warm. Despite his calls for mass evacuation, Jack sets out on a desperate rescue mission in search of his son.

The viewer will get swept up in the spectacle and Emmerich, whose previous work includes Godzilla and Independence Day, sets out to show destruction on an enjoyably massive scale. The scenes are worth viewing, just for the enormous cloud formations created and the effects. Emmerich has utilised much computer skill for the great effects and he cast a couple of fine actors – Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal – to be at the forefront. It is, however, the visual effects that will take hold.

Although the film recognises the cheesy qualities that make these sort of films enjoyable, it is used to good advantage. If you crave a big spectacle at the cinema, this is the film to see. The Day After Tomorrow plays to Emmerich’s strengths and is a worthy disaster story.

Screening on general release.