The Day After Tomorrow

Susan Granger’s review of “The Day After Tomorrow” (20th Century-Fox)

As Dennis Quaid says, “This is every disaster movie rolled into one. There are blizzards and hailstorms and tornadoes and tidal waves.” After decades of global warming caused by pollution, it seems Earthlings are facing deadly meteorological conditions and a new, instant ice age. Quaid plays a climatologist who treks from Washington, D.C. to flash-frozen New York during a global superstorm to find his teenage son (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has taken shelter in Manhattan’s Public Library with a classmate (Emmy Rossum) after a tsunami floods the city. Director/co-writer Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”) tackles the mayhem of this overwhelming environmental debacle with the gusto of a true catastrophist. Suggested in part by the Art Bell/Whitley Strieber apocalyptic “The Coming Global Superstorm,” the swift climate-change concept seems exaggerated, but who knows? The impressive CGI devastation includes a Russian freighter floating up Fifth Avenue during a giant tidal surge, the Statue of Liberty covered in an icy crust and the “Hollywood” sign crumpling in a Los Angeles tornado, albeit reminiscent of “Twister,” “The Core,” “Deep Impact,” “Armageddon,” “Vertical Limit,” etc.. Despite several meandering subplots, there’s little character development and the dialogue is laughably lame, although an ironic note surfaces as Americans are forced to flee south, seeking sanctuary in Mexico. The politically-savvy may also pick up Bush/Cheney jibes for their veto of the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty to reduce the threat of global warming. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Day After Tomorrow” is a harrowing, scary 7, delivering an unmistakably cautionary message. If you’re into visual effects, this is a spectacular, eye-popping disaster blast!