By Vic Holtreman
Short version: Mindless entertainment with cool effects worth renting once.
I went to see The Day After Tomorrow the day after I saw Van Helsing, so that may have slanted my review of this film towards the positive. Imagine eating a plain Mcdonalds hamburger soon after being given Castor Oil, and you'll have a sense of what I'm talking about.
I'd have to compare this film to eating a bit of cotton candy. It tastes ok, but five minutes later you forget about it.
Ok, enough with the food analogies.
If you click on the image above, you'll see a larger version of what was probably the best scene in the film. The flooding of NYC, and the giant wave rushing towards the library in particular, was done in such a manner that it did convey some tension and excitement to the film. That scene and the tornadoes wiping out LA were worth the price of (a matinee) admission.
Beyond that, pretty stock fare: Lone scientist who the government does not believe warns of doom if we don't change our ways. I suppose the twist is that he's more right than even he thought, with catastrophe arriving within days instead of hundreds of years. His semi-estranged son gets caught in New York City and the dad vows to go find him.
With Jake Gyllenhaal playing the shy, brilliant son with a crush on the pretty girl (Emmy Rossum), I kept getting flashbacks to the first half of Spiderman. He reminded me too much of Peter Parker for me to really see him as a unique character.
The environmental awareness message in the film was slathered on with a big spatula, and in case you still didn't get it, at the end of the film a speech is made to the world telling us that we need to "change our ways".
Little late for that, don'cha think? After the new Ice Age hits, I mean? Personally I think I'd be wanting to burn a heck of a lot of fossil fuels right about then. :-)
One thing I might have been imagining... it seemed to me that the President (level-headed, listen-to-the-scientist guy) had a bit of an Al Gore look to him while the Vice-President (the-economy-is-more-important-than-the-environment guy) looked to me like a cross between Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
Coincidence? I think not...
It's mindless entertainment, worth checking out on the big screen at a matinee price if you have a couple of hours to kill. I guess I'd place this between Roland Emmerich's Godzilla (awful) and Independence Day (fun popcorn flick).
I wouldn't rush out to buy the DVD, though.