Well, this weekend’s movie extravaganza was The Day After Tomorrow, a classic global catastrophe film. Dennis Quaid stars as a paleoclimatologist who is the first to recognize that global warming can cause (and in the short span of the movie actually does cause) a global ice age.
I could tell you that the science of this movie is only slightly better than The Core, but let’s face it: if you go to this movie, you aren’t trying to learn more about climatology. You want to see huge tidal waves, tornados, hail and freezing snow, and lots of mayhem and destruction. This movie delivers pretty good doses of those, including multiple tornados in Los Angeles and tidal waves which devastate Manhattan. This movie is brought to you by the same people who produced Independence Day, so you might expect that they know how to show the audience big catastrophes, and you’d be right.
But ultimately the movie falls a little short of the standard. (If you didn’t like Independence Day, then why are you going to this movie anyway?) Ultimately there is something just a bit more satisfying about having huge alien spacecraft wiping out New York and Washington than just a spate of bad (okay, really bad) weather. There are also a few puzzling features about the cut (the President of the United States is killed off screen, but they do spend time to show him evacuating the Capitol building, a couple of other characters disappear from the plotline without mention), and overall there is just relatively little genuine panic despite the devastation of the entire Northern Hemisphere. The characters are all pretty poorly developed, despite a natural performance by Dennis Quaid.
I’d give it about a 7 out of 10 rating. Get some popcorn and a soda and revel in the special effects work, but don’t think too hard about the plot or bother to get involved in the characters.
You can read this article about the science (and lack thereof) of Day After Tomorrow.