Saturday, May 29, 2004

Day After Tomorrow

A good disaster flick came out yesterday and I was glad to see that the local movie theater was filled on a Friday evening. The movie was "The Day After Tomorrow" and it had some good pre-opening-day-buzz going.

First some complaints:

There were many contrived sequences. It was extremely unlikely that, given the press of circumstances, the characters in New York would have visited the Museum of Natural History and happened upon the Wooly Mammoth and talked about how it was found frozen in ice, with grass in its mouth, as if it had been frozen solid where it stood. Then the very next scene shows someone having this happen to him. As if we couldn't figure it out.

And there was no smoke from the fire they had going in the NY Public library. Big expanse of roof sticking out of the snow, and no smoke coming from any chimneys. In fact, NO CHIMNEYS!

And the wolves seemed ravenous - yet there would have been corpse-sicles everywhere floating around in the water and then in the ice.

And the super-bright kids never once needed to use their intelligence.

And the science was laughable.

They picked an actor who could have doubled for Al Gore to play the president.

So, okay, there were a few outnesses.

But it also has all the right things in a disaster movie. The older guy who gives his own life so that others may be saved. The guy who leads a bunch of the people toward what he thinks is safety, only to have it be the trap that the smart guy pointed out and no one believed. The dog. The bum and the rich kid acting as equals. A little love story. A father and son reunion. The Stupid Government Official who realizes he was wrong and reforms.

This movie also has some awesome special effects. The wave crashing through NYC was paced right, very well done. The other effects, such as the twisters in LA, for example, were quite good too. The only objectionable effect was that wolves looked and acted computer animated.

But to tell the truth, I'm getting jaded with these big scale disaster movies, especially when it comes to seeing NYC destroyed.

I own a bunch of them - "Amageddon", "Deep Impact", "Independence Day" and so on. Seeing the WTC towers burning in "Armageddon" is somehow deeply disturbing.

I thought the political messages were heavy-handed in "The Day After Tomorrow". Global warming is not the given piece of scientific fact that it is assumed to be in this movie or in the media. Just do a search at Google for "global warming myth" and you'll get all the refutation you would ever want to make you extremely skeptical of the claims being presented that we are heading for disaster. If you're too lazy to do that, click on any of these links:

Melting the Global Warming Myth

Myths about Global Warming

Thoughts on Global Warming

The next movie I am looking forward to is "The Chronicles of Riddick". We'll see whether that one can deliver something that was missing from this movie - and that's your basic rollicking good tale. "Armageddon" did that, as did "Independence Day". It's hard to do in a disaster flick because you're stuck with the disaster flick formula.

"I, Robot" looks to be pretty good too, although they should apologize to Isaac Asimov for what they've done to his story. Will Smith can do no wrong as an actor, in my book, and I for one am ready to see him blow up some stuff yet again.

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