MagazineFeature articles

Just in | Library of feature articles


The Day After Tomorrow: Frank's Take

01/07/2004. Contributed by Frank Ochieng

Buy The Day After Tomorrow in the USA - or Buy The Day After Tomorrow in the UK

author pic

Frank reckons 'The Day After Tomorrow' will most likely be viewed as a long-winded and loopy meteorology mishap for weather forecast freaks. Justifiably so, Emmerich’s furious yet flimsy convention of cartoonish catastrophe gives a whole new meaning to the classic movie title Gone with the Wind. It’s too bad that this global gloom session couldn’t sweep away any sooner than its two-hour running time.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) 20th Century Fox. 2 hours. 3 minutes. Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Sela Ward, Jay O. Sanders, Adrian Lester. Directed by: Roland Emmerich

Is Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow a decent throwback to the days where cheesy disaster flicks dutifully entertained with its mawkish melodramatic flourishes of destruction and despair? Well, if you are a diehard enthusiast of bloated popcorn movies that stimulate visually but manage to do nothing else that contributes to this overblown genre then this is the clunky natural disaster drama for you to behold.

As for others, The Day After Tomorrow will most likely be viewed upon as a long-winded and loopy meteorology mishap for weather forecast freaks. Justifiably so, Emmerich’s furious yet flimsy convention of cartoonish catastrophe gives a whole new meaning to the classic movie title Gone with the Wind. It’s too bad that this global gloom session couldn’t sweep away any sooner than its two-hour running time.

Writer-director Emmerich, who spearheaded the sensational alien invasion summertime spectacle Independence Day many moons ago, curiously oversees Tomorrow with the urgency of a disabled firecracker. Granted the visuals are quite impressive and the movie motivates convincingly when the swaggering special effects invade the senses without hesitation. But when Emmerich is pouring on the jolting juices behind his surging banal blockbuster he also awkwardly fortifies this free-wheeling fantasy with unnecessary sanctimonious strife to compliment the exaggerated mayhem.

The filmmaker tries to incorporate a full scale of peril from two different perspectives that are both internal and external pertaining to the plagued protagonists. Unfortunately, the results aren’t smooth in transition and Emmerich ends up juggling an explosive sci-fi sappy festival set against an overactive display saddled with cliché caustic sentiments.

There’s no doubt that The Day After Tomorrow pays its indirect homage to the hysterically hokey Irwin Allen disaster-oriented dandies of the late 60s/early 70s where the cockeyed carnage on any level ruled with a fierce fist pounded into the pavement. The guilty pleasure goodies such as Allen classic staples The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno were appetizing for finicky movie audiences willing to suspend their plausibility mental meters for some wily wonderment of laughable disastrous proportions.

Although the cinematic fare of Allen-esque productions were less than perfect thanks to the characteristically stilted and annoying dialogue to accompany the corny happenings on screen, one still got a distinctive taste of the genuine appeal of these terrorizing transparent flicks.

Why? Well, because it served a needed escapist purpose in its hackneyed existence. Nowadays, the sophistication of film technology comes so naturally instinctive in the contemporary era of movie-making One can almost excuse the yesteryear cheese factor of Irwin Allen-related projects because it gave this type of ludicrous cinema an unassuming personality that was oddly refreshing.

However, an artist such as Emmerich’s crafty magnitude should never be spared the tongue-lashing he deserves for this overwrought recycling of a disaster-flavored exposition. Hence, there is certainly no excuse to helm a seemingly opulent and progressive epic such as The Day After Tomorrow and merely convert it into an aimlessly expansive landscape of eye-popping images without so much as generating anything keenly insightful or cunningly concrete. Clearly, Emmerich’s frantic quest for colorful imagination and substance is trapped in the loud and lumbering convictions of his nature-gone-awry hedonistic and hollow horror show.

If anything, Allen would probably applaud Emmerich for his ability to convey the rage and have society destroyed in a heartbeat of overproduced plight and pathos. In Tomorrow, the villainous force is Mother Nature itself. The premise poses the ominous question: what would happen if the world’s climate were affected by the screwy and unpredictable breakdown of global warming? Better yet, how would the world fend off the collapse of the greenhouse effect? What specific doom would the planet’s inhabitants meet should the out-of-control climate go out of whack while we would suffer the wrath of such an inconceivable worldwide devastation?

Enter the resilient and capable scientist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid). Apparently, Jack has spent numerous times previously trying to warn the top government brass about the possibility of the earth’s deteriorating weather-induced defense mechanisms wearing down. Jack’s pleas, sad to say, fell on deaf ears and his suspicions would be unwisely dismissed as a secondary concern.

Much to his credit, his worries were indeed warranted and soon the entire global community would suffer the consequences of their indifference in what amounts to be a wake up call of the utmost alarming kind. What we wouldn’t give for a durable Doppler radar system about now, right?

Gee, it doesn’t look too pleasing for the globe’s residents since major portions of the population are feeling the vast side effects of the world’s disjointed ecosystem gone completely haywire. While the Far East, for instance, is experiencing the onslaught of a persistent hailstorm that’s enough to drive anyone insanely batty the western world (read: America) is being inflicted with savage tornadoes and other wincing weather-related occurrences that require immediate emergency attention on both coasts.

New York City is a key target for Jack to agonize over in particular because his teenage son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is located there where a massive flooding is taking place. As the temperatures begin to drastically drop in the Big Apple, the sub-Arctic atmosphere proves to be challenging for the victims stationed in this modern day Ice Age time warp.

Obviously, Jack must figure out a way to save his precious offspring Sam from his dire predicament as well as conquer the existing problem that threatens the earth’s fragile livelihood. Hmmm…guess there’s nothing like the inconvenience of blizzards, floods, and tornadoes to keep a heroic and conscientious individual honest, huh?

Forget the fact that The Day After Tomorrow boasts some of the silliest and blatantly over-the-top misinformed scientific findings that you’ll ever witness in a sensationalistic sci-fi film. Despite being absurd while brandishing traces of pseudo-emotional baggage from some of the wounded souls chosen to make for sensitive and sympathetic case studies, Emmerich also violates another rule by not injecting his climate-carousing caper with his own stamp of approval.

Instead, he’s simply content with regurgitating the usual run-of-the-mill conclusive action-packed tics that methodically recall what other pictures of this ilk have accomplished before—wiping out cinematic civilizations with the stroke of a technological magic wand without much driving forethought. Emmerich is too much of a talented moviemaker to succumb to such a cope out mentality.

Whereas his aforementioned hit Independence Day had a witty off-kilter edge to match its intense energy Tomorrow lacks this same spunky feeling even though its visually enhanced presentation is definitely watchable to say the least.

As much as Emmerich tries to paint his tortured characterizations with a certain degree of angst, the outcome feels relentlessly meager and unintentionally comical. Case in point: the stunning Emmy-winning actress Sela Ward as the film’s caring doctor who refuses to leave the bedside of her cancer-stricken patient in the face of adversity.

As noble and humanistic as this sounds, one can’t help but to notice the manipulative tension of this rollicking ruse. The situational static that Quaid’s Jack Hall and his fellow compromised players find themselves engaged in could have been more compelling had the film got rid of its calculated contrivance and played out the dramatic nuances for a balancing act that was cohesive in its inherent cleverness.

Besides possibly posing as a big-budgeted training film for the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s not much to consider in the relevancy of Emmerich’s actively wired tactical treat The Day After Tomorrow. Yikes…talk about trying to weather the darn storm!

Frank Ochieng

(c) Frank Ochieng 2004

Magazine > Feature articles

Just in | Library of feature articles

Add daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...


Post your comments


Warning: include(../../../comments/lib/2004/ failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/hunt0799/public_html/articles/features/2004/The-Day-After-Tomorrow-Franks-Take-5488.php on line 153

Warning: include(../../../comments/lib/2004/ failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/hunt0799/public_html/articles/features/2004/The-Day-After-Tomorrow-Franks-Take-5488.php on line 153

Warning: include(): Failed opening '../../../comments/lib/2004/' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/php54/lib/php') in /home/hunt0799/public_html/articles/features/2004/The-Day-After-Tomorrow-Franks-Take-5488.php on line 153

The all-new SFcrowsnest is now running at This is now the archive for pre-2012 content. Nothing new is being posted here.

Magazine Articles

- Features

- Movie/TV Reviews

- Book Reviews

- News

- E-mail magazine

- Encyclopedia

- Other formats: Kindle, Nook, Sony Ebook, iPhone & iPod


- Top books

- Top movies/tv series


- SciFi @ FaceBook

- Steampunk @ FaceBook

- Us @ Google+


- Search site

Reader Tools

- RSS news feed

- Facebook page for SFcrowsnest

- Twitter page for SFcrowsnest

- Google toolbar for SFcrowsnest

Webmaster Tools

- Add our content feeds to your site