May 30, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow... this movie will still suck.

Somehow I managed to convince the Mrs. Frinklin and her sister to come see The Day After Tomorrow this afternoon. How was it you ask? Well, I owe them at least one, maybe two. This is a Roland Emmerich movie, which should have scared me off, but I'm a sucker for stuff getting blown up. Unfortunately for me, the movie is done with that after the first hour, and instead concentrates on the plight of Jake Gyllenhaal and his friends trying to stay alive in the shattered remains of New York while his paleo-climatologist (yes, that's exactly how he's described) attempts to walk from Washington DC to rescue him. This is one of the many pitfalls of a disaster movie: what to do other than showing the actual destruction. This movie should have just forgotten completely about script and characters and just stuck with destruction. Instead, the movie dispenses with the good stuff, and trudges along with comically bad dialogue, wooden performances, and bizarro-world plot twists.

The dialogue is to be expected, there isn't much you can do with the subject matter, but this movie really sticks out. The Day After Tomorrow runs for 124 minutes, and I'll be damned if I can remember more than 1 or 2 lines. Everything else is a tired B-movie cliché.

The performances are universally lousy, but that’s more a failing of the script than anything else. Dennis Quaid poses a lot, and flashes 3 distinct expressions. Gyllenhaal plays the son, a shy brainy kid who has a couple issues with his dad, but nothing to difficult to be glossed over. One slight problem: Jake is a 24-year old playing a 17-year old. The girl of his dreams, played by Emmy Rossum is a 17-year old playing a 17-year old. The difference is noticeable, and besides, he's far too talented to have such an Ian Ziering moment.

This movie does a couple things right. For the most part the effects are good, starting out with hail in Tokyo, snow in New Delhi, and tornadoes in Los Angeles, and peaking with the sea covering Manhattan, is pretty nice. The mad-dash of Americans over the Mexican border is a nice touch, and Ian Holm does a touch of actual acting, playing a doomed English weather researcher. The problem is that these moments are too few and far between. The movie ends up a mess of lame characters and giant plot gaps.

Posted by Frinklin at May 30, 2004 06:09 PM

Nice review -- the first one I've seen that isn't totally focused on the politics of the movie. I'm not an action, things-blow-up fan myself, which is part of why I'm not bothering with this film, but it's good to see that someone in the blogosphere can watch a movie as as movie.

Posted by: PG at June 2, 2004 10:29 AM
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