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Day After Tomorrow
Posted to Movies at 11:18 AM on Mar 8, 2005

2004. 20th Century Fox. Directed by Roland Emmerich. Starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sela Ward.

You know what we need? We need a good parody of all the natural disaster movies that have flooded the market the last few years. There are just so many of them and they're so interchangeable. Last night, after viewing The Day After Tomorrow, I remembered a scene featuring suicidal birds that I saw in another film--was it Armageddon? No. Deep Impact. No, that came out a long time ago and the film I was remembering had to be pretty recent, since we rented it from Netflix. Oh, wait! It was that Hillary Swank masterpiece, The Core!

A genre with so many similar films really just begs for a parody, and there are a few moments when The Day After Tomorrow looks like it could be it. It has everything a modern disaster movie has: The Evil Bureaucrat Who Does Not Heed Numerous Warnings. The Doe-Eyed Heroine. The Sick Kid. The scene in which the hero shouts a dire prediction to The Evil Bureaucrat in a crowded hallway. It looks just like a spoof, but nothing funny happens. Except for this one scene, in the beginning, where Tokyo gets nailed with softball-sized hail. I found it highly amusing, for some reason.

Dennis Quaid plays the hero. Dennis will always be okay with me, because he made The Big Easy, but really, he looks more like a high school football coach than a reknowned climatologist. I wanted to see at least one patented Dennis Quaid smirk, but I guess in a disaster movie, that's too much to ask for.

Dennis's character is still madly in love with his ex-wife (the lovely Sela Ward). They have a teenage son, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. I don't know how old Gyllenhaal really is, but he looks about thirty. He, along with two of his classmates, gets caught in a tsunami in Manhattan and has to wait out the beginning of the impending ice age in the New York Public Library. One of these classmates (Emmy Rossum) is the Doe-Eyed Heroine. She's also his love interest. She's your standard dewy, quiet, helpful Disney princess. Her fate is nearly sealed near the middle of the film, but she is miraculously saved in a totally illogical cop-out resolution. Hey, at least they had the guts to kill off the first lady in Independence Day.

TDAT is actually not that bad a movie if you haven't seen any of the other end-of-the-world-type films of the last few years. It's over two hours long, but feels much shorter, thanks to a tight (if not cliched) script.


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