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The Day After Tomorrow

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

*Also starring: Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward, Arjay Smith, Tamlyn Tomita, Austin Nichols, Timothy Bagley, Christopher Britton, Tony Calabretta, Tommy Chang

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

A ludicrous and sanctimonious environmental sermon disguised as a summer disaster flick, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW has more in common with writer/director Roland Emmerich's abysmal GODZILLA than his stirring INDEPENDENCE DAY. Without a single credible character, it's just a collection of good -- but not great -- special effects in search of a movie.

The basic premise of the plot is that global warming is about to cause the next ice age. How quickly will this worldwide change take place? Well, the film isn't titled SOME CENTURY SOON.

Dennis Quaid, fresh from his "success" in THE ALAMO, stars as Jack Hall, the only scientist on the earth who gets it and who predicts what will happen. And just when it appears that he is the only one on the planet who could save it, or at least parts of it, Jack gives a briefing in Washington and then heads north, much of it on foot, to save his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), one of the few people left alive in Manhattan. It's obvious to anyone that Jack has no chance of making it to Sam, which, of course, means that he will.

The cheapest shot of all comes in the casting of the key role of the Vice President, who is shown as the power behind the throne. The filmmakers cast a Dick Cheney look-alike then proceed to turn this fictional Vice President into a blithering idiot.

Speaking of idiots, the director acts as though the audience were filled with them. The movie keeps grinding to a complete halt so that some faux-human drama can unfold, including a bald boy who is a cancer patient who can't be moved since all the ambulances are gone, a tourist who won't follow police orders because she can't speak English and the Americans who break the law by becoming illegal immigrants into Mexico, where it's still warm. The script keeps throwing ridiculous pseudo-science at us, which it mixes with just enough of the plausible, to argue that this all really could happen. Massive tornadoes could strike L.A., people could be killed by softball-sized hail in Japan, half of the world could almost instantly be buried in snow and a tidal wave -- which humans, we find, can outrun -- could flood Manhattan several stories deep.

I want my two hours back.

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW runs way too long at 2:03. It is rated PG-13 for "intense situations of peril" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 15, could only muster * 1/2 for it. He liked the special effects but complained about everything else about the movie, including its blatant political agenda, its length, its unbelievable coincidences and the overall weirdness of the storyline. He just didn't buy it for a minute.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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