THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
Review by Gordon Justesen
Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward
Director: Roland Emmerich
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 123 Minutes
Release Date: May 24, 2005
I think it’s time you got out of there.”
afraid that time has come and gone, my friend.”
can we do?”
as many as you can.”
Just when I thought
I couldn't take another disaster movie, along comes The Day After Tomorrow, which is easily the single best to come out
of the genre in a long time. The movie is huge in scope and even huger when it
comes to the realm of special effects. Although many feel that special effects
tend to drive a movie more than they should, the effects in this film definitely
merit our attention.
Perhaps the most
important element in film is director Roland Emmerich, who has made without a
doubt his best film since 1996's Independence
Day, another movie that took effects to a whole new level. Emmerich has
become perhaps the top flight maker of big time cinematic popcorn movies, and
his level of technical genius is but to terrific use in the telling of a
disaster tale that, for all its outrageousness, may not be too unbelievable.
After having aliens
invading the world in Independence Day, and the citizens of New York elude the
stomp of Godzilla, Emmerich has whipped up a disaster tale for the ages,
involving several storms developing in various parts of the Northern Hemisphere
to help create nothing short of a second ice age. What's the cause of this
weather fiasco? None other than an environmentalist's worst nightmare--global
As for the human
characters in the movie, there is an unexpected twist regarding the usual
disaster movie clichés. Although they are written for a disaster formula, they
have a level of depth and you actually end up caring about them. In other words,
this movie has the one thing that was missing from the tornado flick Twister.
Credit Emmerich and co screenwriter Jeffery Nachmanoff for adding in that much
At the center of
the developing disaster is Dr. Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) a climatologist whose
theory about the effects of global warming have proven to be very true, despite
the economy-conscious government's refusal to believe anything he says. Hall's
discovery of the truth of his own theory is helped by friendly British scientist
Dr. Raspon (Ian Holm), who took faith in Hall's theory when they met at a
character is Jack's son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), a high school whiz kid who's en
route to New York City to participate in an academic decathlon. Though it could
be accepted that he was going to show off his smarts, he's really there because
of his crush on fellow classmate Laura (Emmy Rossum of Mystic River). Upon realizing that the heavy rain dousing NYC hasn't
ceased, Sam starts to speculate the worst.
As for the storm
sequences, these earn a place among the most astonishing special effects scenes
to grace the screen in quite some time. The action gets rolling only thirty
minutes into the movie, with a multiple tornado storm destroying nearly every
inch of L.A. My immediate reaction to this sequence was that of a huge jaw drop.
To be honest, I think this five minute sequence produced as many thrills and
chills than Twister did in its entirety. This scene is capped off by an
incredible revealing shot indicating the extreme damage done to the city.
Next comes the
flooding of New York City, a sequence that will no doubt send shivers done your
spine. The many tidal waves that rip and roar down city streets is far more
impressive and pulse pounding than anything seen in Deep Impact, which included a similar sequence. But then again,
there's really no point in attempting to compare a lackluster flick like Deep
Impact to the likes of this far more superior movie.
After eluding the
mighty floods, Sam and his schoolmates, along with a handful of others, end up
barricaded in the confines to the downtown public library. In case you're
wondering how bad the flooding got, a few scenes later a Russian tanker ship is
seen floating through the streets of Manhattan. To stay warm, Sam advises
consistent burning of the library's many books.
As the movie
progresses, the storyline centers on Jack doing whatever it takes to reach his
son, even if it means traveling by foot in the midst of some truly nastily
freezing weather, which is capable of causing death by freeze, as seen early in
a pretty frightening sequence. A later scene where a group of characters are
trying to escape freezing temperatures is bound to help induce some nail biting.
Needless to say, the special effects really deserve Oscar attention.
Even though certain
formulaic elements present themselves here and there, I do give The
Day After Tomorrow extra, extra credit for its ability to relentlessly
entertain, while at the same time invest some life in the central characters,
especially since most disaster movies manage to create the most clichéd
From a technical
aspect, The Day After Tomorrow is
quite simply amazing. Director Roland Emmerich, whose name seems to go hand in
hand with large-in-scope effects laden adventures, has crafted easily the best
and most worthy disaster movie you're likely to ever come across. In a time when
you think you've seen everything that special effects have to offer, this movie
will truly make you think otherwise in a heartbeat.
Fox is never a DVD
studio to disappoint, and this amazing presentation of The Day After Tomorrow is a pivotal reminder of how well they don't
disappoint. Every possible aspect of picture quality is of magnificent quality,
and then some. This anamorphic presentation does nothing short of knocking the
socks off, especially when the visual effects kick in (the first glance of
tornadoes attacking L.A. is simply mind blowing. Clarity is present throughout
the movie, along with superb image detail and amazing level of coloring to boot.
No matter if set in the dark hazy L.A. tornado storm or the white tone of snow
covered New York, this is a visual presentation for the history books!
Two words, JAW
DROPPING! Believe me when I tell you that I haven't experienced a more intense
presence of audio than what's displayed in the DTS and Dolby 5.1 mix, not just
for this year but in general since DVD came to be. The movie's sound is as
furious as the weather it's depicting, and every sound detail has been applied
with a level of a hundred percent. Truth be told, I can't recall a single moment
in the movie when each of the channels, even the subwoofer, weren't given
something to work with. The terrific music score sounds most powerful, and the
dialogue is spoken, and yelled, with undeniable clarity. Hands down, one of the
most incredible sounding discs you’ll ever come across!
Fox has done yet
another fantastic upgrade in the features area for this 2-Disc All Access
Disc One contains
the original two commentary tracks from the first DVD release; one with Roland
Emmerich and producer Mark Gordon, the second with co screenwriter Jeffrey
Nachmanoff, cinematographer Ueli Steiger, editor David Brenner and production
designer Barry Chusid.
Disc Two has even
more, starting with two documentaries; “Two Kings and a Scribe: A Filmmaking
Conversation” and “The Force of Destiny: The Science and Politics of Climate
Change”. Also featured are 10 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by
Director/Co-Writer Roland Emmerich and Producer Mark Gordon, 2 Pre-Production
Featurettes, 3 Post-Production Featurettes, an Interactive Audio Demo,
Storyboard and Concept Art Galleries, and lastly a Theatrical Teaser and