DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

The Day After Tomorrow - DVD Review

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Left uncontrolled, global warming will cause a disruption of the Earth's warm water currents, which in turn will melt the polar ice caps causing devastatingly high sea levels and unpredictable weather patterns throughout the world. Walls of water will deluge New York City, baseball-sized hailstones will pelt the citizens of Tokyo, and massive tornadoes will rip apart Los Angeles. So go the ramifications of an unchecked greenhouse effect in the mind of Roland Emmerich. And why shouldn't we believe him? After all, he has the backing of paleoclimatologist (anyone with such a title must be credible) Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) who has been warning government officials about a new ice age for years now. One of Hall's miscalculations is the speed at which this phenomenon will overtake the world however. And thank goodness for his misjudgment. How else would we have been able to see such a chillingly realistic outcome in a short two-hour time span?

Sappy dialogue, preposterous implausibilities and melodramatic acting have always plagued disaster films. Rightly so, Irwin Allen's films have never been recognized as the showcases of brilliant screenwriting or intellectual dialogue. On the other hand, never before have filmmakers had the tools and know-how to portray these natural calamities with such frightening realism. And this realism is the principal reason to see The Day After Tomorrow. The plot is thin on originality and bloated with overindulgence, but its modern day relevance and Emmerich's visuals are enough to thrill and chill even the hardiest of sci-fi enthusiasts.

Jack's warnings of a natural disaster come to fruition as giant supercells resembling hurricanes descend upon the upper North American continent. The swirling vortexes pull supercooled air from the troposphere, plunging temperatures at the rate of ten degrees per minute. The flooded streets of New York City are now completely frozen with a chilly, white-capped frosting. The tops of skyscrapers barely penetrate the surface of the ice. In a chilling reminder of the final revelation of The Planet of the Apes (1968), the Statue of Liberty stands half-buried in ice, her crown covered with windswept icicles.

As is the case with many of Emmerich's films, a family relationship is the dramatic thread that bogs down the story between scenes of massive destruction. Trapped in New York City is Jack's 17-year old son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is holed-up in the public library with a few friends, no food, but enough books to burn for days. Upon learning of his son's predicament, Jack sets out for New York from Washington, D.C. Vehicle problems in Philadelphia cause him to finish his trek on foot in snowshoes and arctic gear.

As contrived and corny as it seems, this back-story actually provides an occasional well-deserved respite from disaster watching. The majesty of nature's fury needs to be balanced by a sense of humanity. The silliness of the dialogue is always made bearable by the skills of the acting crew who deliver their ridiculously poor lines with tongues firmly implanted in cheeks, knowing they are but paying adoration to the disaster flicks of yesteryear.

If you love watching those Weather Channel specials that feature tornado footage and storm chasers, or if you harbor that morbid train-wreck curiosity that causes highways around the country to clog up for the most minor of fender benders, The Day After Tomorrow is sure to please. In this day and age it's a pleasant release to be able to watch 9/11-like destruction knowing that upon exiting the Cineplex it will all be over.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen 1.85:1

Subtitles: English, Spanish.

Language and Sound: English: DTS 5.1 Surround; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Other Features: Animated menu with music; Scene Access with 20 cues; 1 Other Trailer(s); 2 Deleted Scenes; 2 Feature commentaries; Weblink/DVD-ROM Material; Packaging: Amaray; Picture Disc; 1-Sided disc(s); Layers: single


* With Director/Co-writer Roland Emmerich and producer mark Gordon
* With Co-writer Jeffrey Nochmanoff, director of photography Ueli Steiger, editor David Brenner and production designer Barry Chusid.

Deleted Scenes:

* Scene 25 and Scene 209-210B.


Disc 2 Contains material not included on the standard issue DVD. Its contents are broken up into 5 categories as follows:

Pre-production: Previsualization; Pre-production meeting; Story board Gallery; Concept Art Gallery.

Production: Two Kings and a Scribe: A filmmaking Conversation

Post-Production: Pushing the Envelope: Visual Effects; Scoring; Audio Anatomy; Deleted Scene

The Science: The Force of Destiny: The Science and Politics of Climate Change

Trailers and TV Spots: Two trailers and a teaser trailer for Day After Tomorrow, Alien Quadrilogy, Alien vs. Predator and Man On Fire.

Number of discs: 2


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