Who doesn't love a good natural disaster, other than the people struck by them, that is. Living in the great plains, I relish the coming of a thunderstorm with its dark clouds and lightening bolts. Everytime a storm comes in, I rush to the window looking for the wall cloud. Even my wife savors the radar on the Weather Channel. What a rush!
So why are natural disaster movies so lackluster? "The Day after Tomorrow" continues the tradition of disaster movies and this review continues my long running reviews of two star movies. I believes that natural disaster movies are rightfully one star movies. The acting is bad, the stories are ludicrous, the science is an insult to our intelligence, and there is always the roll your eyes into the back of your head moment when people "come together". But these movies get the extra star because they blow stuff up, and who doesn't like seeing something get blowed up?
I will give "The Day after Tomorrow" credit for having a premise based on a shred of science: if enough of the arctic ice melts, the oceans will lose their salinity and their wonderful ability to even out the Earth's temperature. Without the constant exchange of warm equator ocean with cold polar ocean, the northern parts of the Earth's will get much, much, colder. Over time, an ice age will begin. (My wife and I saw a Weather Channel special on this theory.) In the movie, the ice age begins in only one week. Take that Doppler radar!
The joy of seeing New York City frozen solid and then overrun with computer animated wolves and Russian oil tankers lasts only as long as my attention span, five and a half minutes. My wife and I agreed to fast forward through the wolf part. After watching the first few storms hit in the movie, I recommend skipping to the part where you get to see New York City under a glacier. It isn't worth your time to see minor characters argue about which books to burn (the whole building is full of wooden furniture!?!).
I will give this even movie credit (but not more stars) for prognostication. The fictional leaders of the United States government are shown as bumblers who ignore solid evidence of an oncoming storm, are slow to react, and end up rescuing survivors off of roof tops. The movie was released in May of 2004 and hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August of 2005. Considering the government's response to Katrina, the makers of "The Day after Tomorrow" were actually generous to our government's disaster management. Good thing the real ice age will take centuries to freeze the northern hemisphere. That should give us plenty of time to relocate to Mexico.