Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow

Originally written: 9/15/04

Human beings, especially we Americans, love disaster films. As if Hollywood remembers this fact every few years, the movies come in bunches, one after another, made for insatiable audiences dating back to King Kong and before. News networks looped footage of the 9/11 terror attacks endlessly after they happened, but only did so because they were simply fulfilling the unconscious, morbid desires of Americans. Some even say that 9/11 was the realization of our own latent disaster movie desires, when an American landmark was destroyed before our eyes.

There are plenty of American landmarks obliterated--or at least covered in ice--in this film, which makes copious use of computer generated images. From the first frames of the credits as the CGI 'camera' sweeps over a rendered Antarctica, to CGI wolves chasing our protagonist, to the films final sweeping shot, the movie relies heavily on special effects.

Unfortunately, they are not enough to make up for a tediously formulaic script and extremely mediocre acting. I find that CGI works much better in theaters, where the projector and film reels add enough 'filmy' quality to the image, but on DVD it looks fake enough to be distracting. Not to mention a few terrible composite shots that looked about as good as the famous (and dated) scene in Die Hard when Alan Rickman falls to his death.

The subtle jabs at the Bush administration's environmental policy, as well as its suspected hierarchy (this film's Vice President is clearly in charge) were surprising coming from Fox. All in all, the film's 'environmental message' was not as powerful as many politicians this year claimed. Be sure to watch the two deleted scenes, however! They are perhaps the best examples of why scenes are deleted from films, with some TERRIBLY bad acting from Dennis Quaid and a completely superfluous subplot which was eventually dubbed over.