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The Day I Was Blown Away At The Cinema
The Day After Tomorrow (DVD)
Member Name: Ayesha-`
The Day After Tomorrow (DVD)
Advantages: Brilliant graphics, story and good acting
Disadvantages: You might not agree with what the film predicts
I still remember feeling quite blown away after seeing this film on the big screen. I was stunned by how many different kinds of events could be crammed in and yet each one was somehow more alarming than the last. Since then I have seen The Day After Tomorrow again, and again. After watching it on the television again a few days ago I decided to add it to my review collection!
Climatologist Jack Hall and two of his colleagues witness the breaking off of a huge ice sheet in Antarctica and after further research, realise that the world is heading for a new Ice Age. As several dramatic weather changes occur throughout the world, he urges the UN to act quickly to evacuate the north, where a freezing storm brews. But with all their procrastination and denial of the problem, it soon becomes too late and evacuation for those north of a line Jack indicates is no longer an option. With his own son, Sam, trapped in New York, Jack must now find a way to reach him, and hope that he is safe.
The pattern is rather standard for a disaster movie: some scientist makes a chance discovery that could potentially change or destroy the world. Government or authority figures either ignore them or any action taken fails and worst case scenario seems to be on the cards. The survival path of a small group of people, closely connected to that scientist is followed and we hope for a good ending. I think that the less likely a happy ending is, the more we love it because we are constantly on the edge of our seats.
Admittedly this kind of story has been milked for quite some time now, but we do not seem to be tiring of it. In fact when the film is well made, as long as it is approached with just a little more excitement each time, it seems as popular as ever. Of course there have been disasters in this area, for instance the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still, which actually left me feeling a bit ripped off. But with the level of action involved in The Day After Tomorrow, and just a tiny bit of romance, it seems we are onto a winner. I haven't a clue about the scientific grounding of the film, but certainly as an ordinary layperson, it all sounded very convincing and I found myself wondering how such a thing has not actually already happened. I think if you know too much about environmental science, that could potentially spoil the story and that's probably the one case where the film might not be enjoyed. Certainly this is not a film for the cynical mind and as with all films about possible future events it is easy to dig too deep and pick holes when looking for them.
The characters are all likeable, or at least very difficult to dislike with good reason. This does make the film a little corny and terribly unrealistic, but perhaps that is what we want.
There are few scenes where the Hall family members are physically together and most of their communication is over the phone. Jack Hall is played with passion by Dennis Quaid, but because of the distance factor, most of his face to face interaction is with his fellow colleagues and staff. Jack's son Sam is played by Jake Gyllenhaal not too emotively but with passion and some intense scenes in New York. There were several other impressive actors and the film seems to feature more brief encounters than building relationships. However, an interesting relationship does seem to be developing amid the chaos for Sam, so it is worth looking out for this.
The thing that amazed me most about this film, especially on the big screen but also on an ordinary television, was the number of major events put in and each with the same level of detail and special effects. There are hailstones, tornadoes and even a tsunami amongst other disasters, and each has been reflection with great attention to detail and thought into what sort of impact they would have. Watching this film on the big screen I almost felt as though I were there, and even now seeing it again on the television I still felt stunned by what I saw. It would always be hard to imagine what it is like to experience a mass disaster without actually being there, and it is arguably a little insensitive to do so, but then we do need to give thought to how best to help people and how best to be prepared and this film certainly gives you as good an idea of what to expect as any documentary I have ever seen.
There are some very intense scenes, and also scenes where kids are attacked by a wolf and so some violence ensues, but on the whole the film fits well as a 12A. I didn't notice any swearing and there were no sexual scenes, which makes this a very comfortable film to watch with the family.
I quite enjoyed this film, and whether you think it is exaggerating the situation, misleading people on environmental sciences or highlighting just how important it is for us to change our habits before it is too late, you can certainly appreciate the effort that has gone into making it. Some might even think we are too late to prevent this sort of catastrophe and that it is already happening, but then perhaps we need to think about how best we can help people that are caught up in the disasters. The other thing I really liked about this film is the fact that it acknowledges that in a situation like this, no country is better or stronger and the idea that it could happen anywhere at any time is a little scary. If you do not believe this would ever happen, this is still an epic film with a touch of romance and I would strongly recommend watching it.
Summary: A film that challenges you to think about the consequences of how we treat the environment.