Look, disaster movies are never really really great. There might be one or two that are better than others (can’t think of any right now), but on the whole they’re just dumb popcorn movies. And half of them are also made by Roland Emmerich. Thus comes ‘The Day After Tomorrow‘, a Roland Emmerich directed popcorn disaster movie! Of course it isn’t really really great. Or really great. Or even great. But it’s a bit of fun and I enjoy some of it, probably more than I should.
In 2004 climate change was starting to become a slightly bigger worry, so naturally a film had to be made to capitalise on those fears. The polar ice caps are melting due to global warming, dumping more fresh water into the oceans and disrupting the current, causing big shifts in the weather and climate. Is the science correct? No idea. Probably not. But they do sell it to the average Joe like me. When scientist Dennis Quaid’s son Sam, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is trapped in a library in New York by a tidal wave and a frosty storm, he treks across the country to try and save him. Fairly standard disaster movie story, but the special effects are pretty good and the story plays out well from beat to beat.
There are quite a few characters in this film too, as is natural for this type of movie. They all have their own personalities and story, it’s just that some are much less interesting than other. The only ones we really care about are Quaid’s Jack and his two mates on their journey and Sam, his lady crush and his two mates trying to survive in a library with some other stock character types. The acting isn’t bad, but the characters just don’t get much chance to shine or really leap off the screen and so it falls to the action and story to shine.
The story is standard, but the action is good. From a giant tidal wave sweeping through New York City, to rapidly freezing buildings, it’s all fairly good. There’s some wolves in one scene though which is kind of weird, but hey ho, bulk up that runtime I guess! This is a trademark Emmerich film, although it’s shorter which does it a favour I think. But they same characters and tropes and action beats are there. But that’s okay. This film may be commenting on climate change (slightly), but it’s not trying to masquerade as the most thought provoking movie ever. It’s made purely so the audience can have a good time.
And while it isn’t the best movie ever, I had a good time watching this. I think it’s enjoyable for what it is, and it’s definitely better than a lot of other disaster movies. I don’t think it will go down in history as one of the greats though and it almost certainly didn’t affect the conversations on climate change. But why should that get in the way of a fun film hey?!
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5