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Overall Rating
3.29

Awesome: 19.32%
Worth A Look37.68%
Average: 15.46%
Pretty Bad: 7.73%
Total Crap: 19.81%

9 reviews, 153 user ratings


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Day After Tomorrow, The
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by Jay Seaver

"Destruction for its own sake, and that's fine."
4 stars

Summer movie spectacles have become ordinary. Making a movie with massive amounts of special effects is not yet easy or cheap, but there is a sort of system in place, and massive computer-rendered mayhem is routine enough that we, as audience members and critics take it for granted. We look at a spectacle movie and say, so what? Where's the character development? Which is rather silly - it implies that all spectacle is created equal, and that creating something beautiful and terrifying isn't worthwhile for its own sake.

<I>The Day After Tomorrow</I> has solidly above-average destruction. Writer/director Roland Emmerich has had a great deal of practice in ripping large cities apart on-screen, and he hits all the right notes here. He uses relatively long shots, both in distance and time, to make the scope of what he's doing clear. He places everything in the right place on the screen (in terms of looking at it, if not necessarily in terms of real geography), and he manages the difficult task of making a frozen, snow-covered environment appear dynamic. The methods by which he unleashes his destruction are nicely tied together; when a helicopter's fuel lines freeze and it crashes, it gives the feeling that he and his co-writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff were actually thinking this through, that he was considering all the possibilities and just worked them all in.

Indeed, it's refreshing how seriously Emmerich takes his subject matter. The scientists in this movie are smart and have human foibles without being socially stunted, inappropriate wisecracks are kept to a minimum, and there's not much in the way of camp. Emmerich doesn't feel the need to soften the blow when bad things are happening; instead of going for a chuckle by having the special effects kill people in an ironic/darkly comic way, he just lets dangerous situations be dangerous without comment or deconstruction. It's a surprisingly effective technique, and deserves imitation.

That's not to say this is a perfect movie; much of the film's second hour between cataclysmic events seems too much smaller than the rest. There's also very little sense of human scale; when characters refer to something happening a couple days ago, it doesn't feel like a two days have past inside the film when only ten or fifteen minutes have passed outside of it. When Dennis Quaid's character hikes through the storm from somewhere just north of Philadelphia to Manhattan, we never get a real sense of exactly how dangerous that is.

And, of course, as is expected from a PG-13 movie, it's a rather bloodless affair. I'm not saying I want blood and guts, or even that it would be appropriate (the nature of the superstorm would mean that what bodies weren't buried would be flash-frozen and preserved), but too often it seems that the destruction affects mainly buildings and structures and <I>things</I>, as opposed to people.

The acting is decent for the main characters - pros like Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sela Ward, Adrian Lester, and Ian Holm are more than capable of selling what they're given (they are aided enormously by the science sounding vaguely reasonable and consistent); relative newcomer Emmy Rossum is a nice find. There's something of a drop-off when you get to the second-tier characters, like the folks who are holed up in the New York Public Library with Gyllenhaal's Sam; they don't rise much above serviceable that often.

There's a likeable earnestness about the movie, though - Emmerich and company believe in its cautionary message, and as a result they seem to put more effort into it than is generally expected for the genre. The Day After Tomorrow doesn't transcend its genre, but is a good example of the disaster movie done well.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9640&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/11/04 15:11:31
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell boring disaster flick good fx though 1 stars
2/15/14 Talal Al-Khaldi It was an OK movie. Special effects were the only thing going for it. Dialogue was terrible 3 stars
2/26/13 Mario Segale It's just like mama used to make! 5 stars
1/31/13 Bart If this movie is on I ALWAYS want to watch it! It does exactly what it's supposed to do. 5 stars
10/05/12 mike miller see this one mainly for the effects 3 stars
2/20/11 Ark Not bad, but formulaic! 4 stars
8/16/10 teachinla Doesn't do the global-warming warners any favors. Its science was ludicrous. 2 stars
8/01/10 Imogen Jones If this is such an enviromental movie, why make wolves look bad? They're nature too! 3 stars
5/20/09 Jake Shit "review". More of a bashing. And Penicillin is a latin phrase, universal for science 3 stars
4/06/09 Monica Hands down worst movie ever made. Absolutely laughable 1 stars
11/26/08 R.W. Welch Hokey disaster flick fails to grab, but has some good FX. 2 stars
11/26/08 Leo T crummy title, crummy movie 1 stars
10/24/08 action movie fan the best movie of 2004-great original story terrific in every way 5 stars
10/01/08 Shaun Wallner Great Movie!! 5 stars
6/19/08 OddworldPoop I'm giving it five for making me laugh and point at how pathetic and overrated it all was. 5 stars
6/08/08 PAUL SHORTT HINTS AT OUR FRAGILE HUMANITY AND TRIES TO PUT A FAMILIAR FACE TO MISERY 3 stars
5/16/08 James Dean sucked. absolutely sucked 1 stars
5/04/08 mark madsen why do people think that this could not happen is beyond me 5 stars
3/23/08 Rob g This is a terrible film. It makes no logical sense. It makes me want to punch Roland Emmerw 1 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White Shows that weather will happen even if we count our carbon credits 5 stars
11/18/07 Tee Effects - 7 Acting & Script - 0 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Schmaltzy,cartoonish poo that makes "Independence Day" look like "Citizen Kane"! 1 stars
7/23/07 SCOTTIE WORST MOVIE EVER...! 1 stars
6/09/07 Danielle Ophelia I've this theory that a Gyllenhaal could make a Plan 9 redux work. 4 stars
4/23/07 David Risser This was a disaster, completely fake and unrealistic, highly overated 1 stars
4/20/07 Stevo UK Global warming isn't going to happen for a million billion years. Good film. 4 stars
2/17/07 Vip Ebriega The day after, you learn to like it. 3 stars
1/11/07 Matt It isn't about to happen so just ENJOY the fun 5 stars
12/28/06 Richard Paquette ho-hum 2 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai A promising thriller. Great SP FX and action scenes! Casts' performance are great. 4 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini great fx 5 stars
8/15/06 gem awsum as 5 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist Clever,suspenseful,fascinating,Although some dragging, it is ownable!! 4 stars
7/09/06 Anthony Feor Goes from fun to boring 3 stars
6/16/06 Michele clever 3 stars
6/14/06 oola suspenseful... interesting 4 stars
5/17/06 rocky I thought the way the used little side storys was awsome!!! 5 stars
4/14/06 MP Bartley Best bit = where they tried to outrun cold. Looks terrific and great fun. 4 stars
3/18/06 Bobert This movie was soooo awsome 5 stars
3/11/06 the laughing man Everything was great, except for Dennis Quaid. 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk Emmerichs second best movie. Only Godzilla is better 4 stars
2/07/06 Anthony Good weather flick 4 stars
1/03/06 cody a cool visual effects movie with good subplot and good perf. by dennis, that's all 3 stars
11/13/05 Quigley what this film lacks in acting talent, plot and script is made up for with awesome visuals 5 stars
10/27/05 chris a not bad movie have seen better and have seen worse 3 stars
10/20/05 Agent Sands Unlike other Hollywood disaster movies, this one shows America with a bit of humility. Good 3 stars
10/07/05 Bob Smith Not bad, worth the seeing. 4 stars
9/26/05 a. kurlovs the first half is quite well done. second - dumb beyond imaginable. 4 stars
8/23/05 ES seen worse, not as bad as I figured 3 stars
8/12/05 Kelly same old disaster story but very entertaining,good effects and Jake Gyllenahal 4 stars
8/07/05 Ed Campbell Another reviewer ignorant of science fiction or science. 5 stars
8/03/05 Sully a solid, fun flick. sometimes you just need to enjoy a movie and not critique it.... 4 stars
8/02/05 Hockeytown Global Catastrophe on ICE!!! 4 stars
8/01/05 George It was good and all but the acting really let this one down 3 stars
7/05/05 NANCY I LOVE IT! AWESOME EFFECTS!!! 5 stars
6/07/05 Darcy only average 3 stars
5/03/05 dwarzel Makes Jurassic Park look like a hotbed of scientific plausibility 1 stars
5/01/05 ed.williams Formilaic, same as all the other disaster movies just a different disaster. 2 stars
4/29/05 Quigley absolutely sick acting from some lead characters, but the CG make this worth it 5 stars
4/01/05 failingloser i like it. it's got a point to get through, you just need to recognise it 5 stars
2/26/05 Danny This is one of the stupidest, worst, unrealistic films I've ever seen. 1 stars
2/11/05 Jeff Anderson Begins greatly, but absolute stupidity quickly takes over! Outstanding special effects!!!!! 2 stars
2/02/05 G-Man best movie ever 5 stars
1/28/05 Charlie Wolves and tornadoes pretty lame. Okay, I guess. 3 stars
1/22/05 Rob McKeown The worst movie in history... absolute crap. 1 stars
1/17/05 JJ utter shite...lol gman also gave attack of the clones 5/5 lmao 1 stars
1/03/05 2012 Mayan thin plot doesn't matter, it's mainly about mans ignorance, nature always wins in the end 4 stars
1/02/05 MyGreenBed Atrocious. A "year's worst" listee. Laughable often (and not in a good Ed Wood way). 1 stars
12/12/04 john a big wave splashes over NY and after that Dennis walks there through the snow - the end 1 stars
12/10/04 Jason Kaul Special Effects=WOW. Plot=Thin @ best. Overall=Gotta have more than effects to please me. 2 stars
12/05/04 HL Quaid walks from PA to NY in blizzard in 38 minutes..oh, he saves the world. 4 stars
11/24/04 Zenny does cheese freeze? 2 stars
11/07/04 Joe Smaltz The crack smoking thing seems Plausible. good Cinematography 1 stars
11/05/04 Duncan I wanted to leave. 1 stars
10/31/04 G-man best movie ever 5 stars
10/24/04 lotrEEproper owns....but this is an utterwank film almost as bad as the others they made like iday and armagedon etc..but it has great effects 1 stars
10/24/04 Doc Shock Amusing. Nothing great, but worth a look for mindless entertainment. 3 stars
10/19/04 Joe I can't believe I paid two bucks to see this. 1 stars
10/19/04 EUGENE ahh it was ok but id rather watch an anal orgy 3 stars
10/17/04 Dan Good 4 stars
10/14/04 Nickydonpablos I thought it was interesting. Atleast it caught my attention and kept the story going. 5 stars
10/14/04 tatum Great FX, but stunted and obvious all over the place 2 stars
10/13/04 American Slasher Goddess Has a lot of plot holes, but it's decent two hour entertainment. 3 stars
10/06/04 Paul BORING! BORING! Save ur time,and just fast forward for the pretty effects! 2 stars
8/07/04 G-man best movie ever....tornadoes, ice overs....just plain awesome 5 stars
8/02/04 Nikolai I laughed a little, and I cried a little. what more can one ask? 1 stars
8/01/04 valerie hart fanatstic 5 stars
7/23/04 Jurko the Great Total crap! 1 stars
7/19/04 assassin_chick Special effects are pretty fun--Great flick if you love apocolyptic movies like we do! 4 stars
7/17/04 legend Good summer flick. Excellent special effects which seemed to run out at end. Bad story. 4 stars
7/11/04 Vince Completely unrealistic, standard hollywood fare action flick, saved by special effects 3 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva Good movie and it made a point 4 stars
6/30/04 Mike C. This movie is SO funny, don't view with a critical eye, just enjoy the comedy and specialFX 4 stars
6/27/04 Dan Denson It used fake science to sell itself, and was I the only one hoping the charcters WOULD die? 1 stars
6/27/04 Koitus Gotta love the bus ON the Porsche, and the anchorman getting plastered by the billboard! 4 stars
6/26/04 M slick sfx movie with a plot......finally! 4 stars
6/21/04 cobretti Laughably bad with some real howlers for dialogue. All the effects are in the trailer. 1 stars
6/19/04 Emily I loved this movie 5 stars
6/16/04 Hilarium Is Darkofnight nuts? He honestly thinks this couldn't be better? My god. Warn the children. 1 stars
6/16/04 Luke Wow i would like to know what goes through the heads of people who think this is good 1 stars
6/15/04 Jack Bourbon Mr. Vice President, why haven't you stopped the making of shitty movies?!?!?! 1 stars
6/14/04 Lord Jiggy Better than you've heard...only film this summer not to disappoint 4 stars
6/12/04 Melina entertaining, but not memorable 4 stars
6/10/04 maxomai Pleasantly thrilling if stupid. 4 stars
6/08/04 Dion Ignore the sci-fi haters - this movie is excellent 5 stars
6/07/04 The Chronic only showed destruction in US and then only in NY & LA, plot too unbelieveable 3 stars
6/06/04 Captain Highcrime Wouldn't ya know it, just when I finally land a decent LA apartment... 4 stars
6/06/04 Melissa I thought this movie was great. It actually frightened me that this could happen. 5 stars
6/05/04 alien assassin Head and shoulders above most disaster films 4 stars
6/05/04 DdMM I should have stuck to my original plan for the evening and gone to the gym... 2 stars
6/04/04 iami I laughed outloud (Literally) when Mexico closed the border to the Amaricans. 4 stars
6/04/04 M Hated wil smith in ID4, hate fake wolves in this one! still awesome though 5 stars
6/04/04 Doc Hollywood nonsensical plot forced romance wolves dennis quaid got the picture? 2 stars
6/03/04 SIr Spam-a-lot Best comedy of the year - oh wait 2 stars
6/03/04 Agent Sands Unlike ID4 & Godzilla, this shows a practical disaser & gives the US some humility. 4 stars
6/02/04 Coolhand How in the hell is this 4 stars? Did the price of crack just drop? 1 stars
6/02/04 William DuBay A great spoof of all the disaster films ever made. One campy cliche after another. 4 stars
6/02/04 man on fire This movie was a pathetic excuse for a political thriller/environmental desaster film. 2 stars
6/02/04 Nicole There were some cool effects, but overall the story was weak 3 stars
6/02/04 Obi Wan Good summer movie. Held it's own and thank god we did without the Nuke it scene! 4 stars
6/02/04 Worthy Slacker A few "money shots" doesn't make a good movie. Totally idiotic. "We walk from here" huh? 1 stars
6/02/04 Mike V An unbelievablly atrocious piece of crap. Boring. Roland Emmerich needs to be stopped. 1 stars
6/01/04 A F Anyone who takes this seriously, needs to take a few science classes. Way over done. 1 stars
6/01/04 Susan the best disaster film i've ever seen...phenomenal special effects 5 stars
6/01/04 Wolf Fascinating flick, a real gripper in parts. Wolves weren't good tho. 4 stars
6/01/04 Charlene Javier Deep Impact of the Twisters 2 stars
6/01/04 Kev Bogus, loaded with disaster movie clichés, and numerous eye-rolling moments... but still ok 3 stars
6/01/04 Maalstrom I was yawning 3 stars
6/01/04 Mike It insults anyone with a brain. 1 stars
5/31/04 Jim Pretty good weather porn. Ice age reminds me of upstate New York in January. 4 stars
5/31/04 ajay effects were good, acting/script *wasn't* as bad as expected 4 stars
5/31/04 Meryl Fuckin' rocked. people who don't like it are just worried cuz their SUVs will make it true, 5 stars
5/31/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Good effects & if you ignore the Hollywood drama, you'll see the kernel of dangerous truthh 4 stars
5/31/04 Lukie hated it - worst film I've seen for years 1 stars
5/30/04 BrianWilly Awesome disaster flick with surprisingly good backstory and acting. 5 stars
5/30/04 Prime Worth seeing for the amazing effects. 4 stars
5/30/04 qemm greatest apocalyptical effects ever 5 stars
5/30/04 Jack Bourbon I've never seen a worse film. You reviewers should have your internet privelages revoked 1 stars
5/30/04 Joanna For a disaster film, it was great! 4 stars
5/30/04 Dan Great SFX, but illogical script and boring characters 2 stars
5/30/04 ALI HBOUS the visual effects are scary 4 stars
5/29/04 M Very "COOL" 5 stars
5/29/04 Cameron Slick Paper-thin plot vs. great vfx, breaks down to caring about the characters - I didn't 3 stars
5/29/04 othree funny,unbelievable,no emotional attachment,familiar casts,see trailers 4 efx 3 stars
5/29/04 Edler Made no sense at all. The special FX dudes bribed the producers to make this idiotic heap. 1 stars
5/29/04 Gray needed better editing + end buildup+ less specific science explanations=more belivable 4 stars
5/29/04 Christina That homeless guy was annoying as hell 5 stars
5/29/04 Bradley Woods save yourself some money and rent the DVD. its extreme silliness is amusingly entertaining. 3 stars
5/28/04 Help! My Brain Is Still Turned Off! Now I need it to erase all the bullshit that was fed me in this film! 1 stars
5/28/04 Sebastián Freigeiro I liked it a lot, great movie, at least for me... 4 stars
5/27/04 P.Rodriguez made me laugh, made me cry.. oh wait wrong movie. Total leave you brain and enjoy flick 5 stars
5/27/04 Over-hyped BORING! No sustanable plot, bad dialogue, only 2 action scenes = TERRIBLE MOVIE! 1 stars
5/24/04 Blakers A great film 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-May-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-May-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  27-May-2004 (M)




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