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Day After Tomorrow, The Print E-mail
Friday, 01 February 2008
ImageIt has been scientifically proven that global warming is increasing at an alarming rate. Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is a true eye opener on the devastating effects of cars and garbage on our planet. “The Day After Tomorrow” takes a summer blockbuster look at global warming. And while many may criticize it as just a typical Hollywood adaptation, the events of the film do not seem that far off from what could be reality.

Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), a climatologist for the government, studies the effects of the melting ice shelves in the artic on the environment. In the opening sequence, Jack’s team is drilling ice cores in the arctic when the ice shelf completely breaks, dividing their base camp in two. At the New Delhi conference, Hall presents his findings to the panel, led by Vice-President of the United States, Becker (Kenneth Welsh). Without a definite timeframe of any monumental global warming disaster, the Vice President dismisses any and all theories from Jack Hall.

Outside the New Delhi conference, Hall runs into Terry Rapson (Ian Holm), the leader of the science foundation in Scotland. Rapson will later play an important part in Hall’s forecast model on the global warming events.

Back in Washington DC, Hall’s son Sam (Jack Gyllenhaal) prepares for his trip to New York as part of an academic trivia team. His sole reason for joining the team is because of a girl, Laura Chapman (Emmy Rossum). Sam’s parents are divorced, but reunite over the concern for their son who becomes trapped in New York.
The recent ice shelf breakage in the arctic has caused a desalinization of the ocean waters. And because the ocean currents rely on a delicate balance of salt and fresh water, the ocean temperatures begin to drop dramatically. Rare weather phenomena begin to occur around the world. Hail the size of soccer balls begin falling from the sky in Japan and Los Angeles. Tornados ravage the greater Los Angeles area, leaving it more devastated than the alien spacecrafts did in “Independence Day”.

With all these phenomena, it becomes apparent that true disaster is about to strike. With the government still ignoring the advice of Jack Hall, he teams with an NASA representative to come up with a conclusive forecast. Hall’s team is able to prove that the disasters are going to continue and become worse, all leading to a new ice age. The vice president still refuses to heed Jack’s warning.

Meanwhile, Sam is stuck in New York due to a freak flooding that has forced a group of them to the upper floor of the New York Public Library. Managing to call his father from a payphone on the library’s mezzanine, he is told what is happening, to stay put and that he would be coming for him. Unfortunately, the majority of people in the library decide to leave now that the flooded water has frozen enough to walk on. Sam is unable to prevent them from leaving. However, a few of them heed Sam’s warning and remain in the library.

Before Jack leaves to trek his way to New York, he is asked by his boss to brief the president directly. Jack advises that the president evacuate everyone south of the northern United States to Mexico. As the hurricane-like storms begin to intensify over land all over the world, the weather gets worse and people panic.

And in the grand tradition of movie scripts, the man who doomed us all becomes President in the end.

The acting is very “hit and miss” with this film. After Emmy Rossum’s terrific performance in “The Phantom of the Opera”, I was expecting much more from her in this film. However, much of her lackluster performance was due to her underdeveloped character. Sela Ward however shined in her minimalist role as Sam’s mother, Lucy Hall. Dennis Quaid was a strong main character with great conviction. The vice president however, is a stereotypical character that exists for no other reason other than to hinder other characters’ actions and push the plot along.

“The Day After Tomorrow” is another Blu-ray reference videodisc. Some scenes appear a bit soft to compensate for the compression. However, compression artifacts are non-existent. The opening credits sequence contains fast movements from the viewpoint of a helicopter flying over the ice masses in the arctic. The ice and water remain completely intact as the camera glides over the scenery. The colors are terrific. They are very vibrant, and the there is enough black level to provide wonderful depth to the image. This especially holds true in all the ice and snow sequences. Usually, ice is blown out on most films. However, here the ice retains is rich texture and depth. There is a layer of grain present on the transfer. However, the granules are not large in diameter. The DPI is very high making the grain appear like very fine dust. It is in no way distracting.

Once again, the audio quality of this movie far exceeds that of the video quality. The breaking of the ice shelf at the very beginning of the film is evidence of the outstanding sound design that is to permeate throughout the film. Movement is terrific throughout the surround channels. All the weather disasters require tremendous sound editing, and the editors pulled it off nicely. There is a great enveloping ambience throughout the movie that keeps the viewer in the center of the action. There are certain points in the film where the audio is nicely cross-faded with the following scene. For example, after the loud, crashing waves in the middle of the ocean, there is a quite dialogue scene. The crashing waves smoothly decay and then the dialogue is crisp and clean. It is a seamless transition that is a real treat for audiophiles. And finally, the LFE channel is outstanding. This film will truly give your subwoofer a workout, along with the rest of the speaker system.

The special features on this disc are not one of Fox’s best, but they are sufficient. There are two audio commentaries. The first is with Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Mark Gordon. The second is with Co-writers Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Ueli Steiger, Editor David Brenner, and Production Designer Barry Chusid. Both commentaries are fairly dull, with a lot of silence and only a few revelations. There are about 15 minutes worth of deleted scenes, some which contain CGI placeholders. That is about all of the standard definition content that is on the disc. The rest of the special features that were on the SD DVD version are not on this Blu-ray disc.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray disc are a couple of trivia games. When turned on, the Global Warming Trivia Track plays during the course of the film. Trivia appears on-screen and depending on your answer, raises or lowers the temperature bar on the side of the screen. The goal is to keep the temperature within a specific range. The Cold Zone Game is the non-interactive version of the above trivia track. The remaining features are fairly standard for Fox films. These features include, Search for Content, Personal Scene Selections, Trailers, a FOX Promo Reel, and D-Box enhanced technology.

In this day and age, global warming’s impact on out Planet’s environment is becoming extremely apparent. It is nice to see a blockbuster that attempts to integrate the seriousness of global warming. The film is educational to a point and certainly enjoyable. The CGI effects and weather disasters are all wonderfully represented. The video and audio quality only serve to enhance the film watching experience. It is highly recommended to add this film to your collection.

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