Movie reviews this week looks at the ecological suspense thriller The Day After Tomorrow with Dennis Quaid (Inner Space) as a climatologist Jack Hall, who for years has been warning the U.S. government and the world in general that its’ reliance on fossil fuels is causing a great deal of harm to the planet (a couple of years before Al Gore’s Oscar winning An inconvenient truth).
His estimations of a global disaster from global warming which would usher in another ice age, which he predicts as a best guess estimate certainly not in his lifetime, that polar melting with disrupt the North Atlantic current, suddenly escalates to the present, with an ice age hitting the vast majority of America, and Jack in a desperate rush against time to save his son Sam Hall played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), who is trapped in New York, which unfortunately is at the epicentre of this ice age.
This is one of the first movies to highlight the environment impact of our reliance on fossil fuels, with several scenes to ponder the potential disaster on our hands, one of these is a helicopter going over Scotland that suddenly just freezes at minus 150 degrees Fahrenheit and there is a great scene, where Jack has been telling the scientific community would happen albeit with some scoffing, that the sun would accelerate the rapid decline in temperature to beyond freezing point, immediately freezing structures, and anything that happens to pass within the rays of the sun at that particular time, unfortunately he gets to witness this phenomenon first hand in a desperate race against time to find shelter while everything around him freezes as the sun comes up.
There is also an unforgettable scene as the Tower of Liberty freezes solid.
Not only does he have to breach the bitter cold, he also has to fend off dogs that have gone insane from hunger, looking for anything warm blooded to eat, ergo any humans they can find.
We find out that Jack feels he has let down his son a little, and this journey to find him is something he has to do to make up for their relationship, there is a brilliant conversation at the beginning, where Jack finds out Sam has failed Calculus, and Sam replies he got every question right, and the only reason the lecturer failed him was because he didn’t write out the solutions but did it instead in his head, Jack asks him if he told the lecturer, he told him he did, but the lecturer said if he couldn’t do it in his head neither could Sam.
The Day After Tomorrow is a great ecological drama with a great message.
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