I have always been a huge fan of disaster movies, especially the giant all-star cast films of the late 1970s and early '80s. Who can forget the classic disaster moments like Gene Hackman in the conclusion of the Poseidon Adventure or Robert Wagner engulfed in flames in The Towering Inferno?
In the new epic disaster flick, The Day After Tomorrow, climatologist Prof. Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) stumbles upon a freak escalation in the Earth's global warming. A new Ice Age is about to dawn and Jack must travel to the remains of New York and locate his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), before he loses him to the wrath of Mother Nature. Also mixed up in the mess are Jack's wife Lucy (Sela Ward), Sam's high school crush, Laura (Emmy Rossum), and Jack's faithful sidekicks, Jason (Dash Mihok) and Frank (Jay O. Sanders).
The Day After Tomorrow is a roller-coaster ride and in the pure spirit of the genre, devastation rules.
The star of the film is the special effects and like any big summer film, the story comes second. The central story between father and son brings heart and soul to the epic destruction. It is a solid plight and holds the film together.
I am not going to sit here and comment on the science or the realism displayed in this film because I don't know what is real and what isn't. I also have to frown upon the people who see this film as a political message about the environment. It is just a movie, people. I am sure there are lots of things in the film blown out of proportion, but films love worst-case scenarios.
I really liked Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum and Dash Mihok. Each actor really brought some humanity and feeling to this project and we really embraced their perspective characters. Gyllenhaal and Rossum are bound to surprise a lot more audiences as their stars continue to rise. I do have to hand it to Dennis Quaid. Since 2002's The Rookie, he seems to be an actor on a mission. He has survived, endured, and continues to be one of Hollywood's ever-growing leading men. He bounced right back from The Alamo with this performance. Go Quaid Go!
My only complaints about the film were that we needed more characters to care about. I wanted it bigger in scope with characters, not just effects. I also wanted to see more high-profile people perish. If there is anything to debate about the film it has to be its conclusion. How long could that finale succeed peacefully?
Aside from my isolated problems, The Day After Tomorrow is another giant summer film to get us out of the sun and thrill us with glee. Let's all welcome the summer of '04. (4 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.