Plot: What’s it about?
Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is a climatologist, he studies patterns in the planet’s climate and weather, from the prehistoric era up to modern times. So he is able to recognize certain patterns even before they are realized, but even he couldn’t have predicted what has started. Hall presented information about global warming and how it would change the climate of the world, but his suggestions were ignored for the most part. After all, even by his own predications, the situation wasn’t an immediate concern. But not only was Hall right, but his predications came true much sooner than even he could have expected. The world is soon thrashed by a series of large scale, out of the blue disasters. Los Angeles is leveled by tornadoes, Asia is crushed by the largest tidal wave on record, and now a total freeze is about to plunge the Earth into a new Ice Age. As things start to look dire, can Hall and his crew manage to help or at the least, survive this climactic onslaught?
I tend to like movies, even bad ones, where disasters strike and civilization is plunged into serious trouble. I love the old disaster movies, from the ones in airports to the ones on boats, to the more Mother Nature driven ones. The Day After Tomorrow is a disaster movie, not so much action or sci/fi, but a genuine disaster movie. Well, that and a movie that preaches the dangers of global warming, since I guess the world can freeze within a week’s notice. But I just ignored the political and social context, focusing on what these kind of movies do best, destruction and danger. This is a big budget blockbuster, so the special effects are rampant and the set pieces are high end, fun stuff to watch. The storyline is hilariously preposterous, but that is part of the fun, to see how bad the science element is handled. You just have to want to have fun, as this is surely the kind of movie Mystery Science Theater 3000 would run if it was still around. This Blu-ray version looks and sounds much better than prior editions, but extras aren’t as plentiful, but to me, the movie’s presentation counts above all else. So in my book, this is the one to own since the movie is given the best treatment here, even if the supplements aren’t complete.
Video: How does it look?
Day After Tomorrow is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This doesn’t pop off the screen like I had hoped, but this is still a nice improvement over the standard transfer. I saw some unexpected woes, from shimmering to digital artifacts, none too serious, but still I expected more refinement here. Aside from those concerns, the visuals look great, from the crisp and pristine whites to the deep, stark blacks, to the bright and vivid colors. As far as detail, I noticed more depth and overall clarity, but this isn’t quite as crisp as the best high definition transfers I’ve seen. So in the end, we have a great visual presentation, but one that suffers from some issues that force me to lower the score.
Audio: How does it sound?
The lossless DTS HD option here is more than impressive, with an active and powerful presence. This is a disaster movie and of course, the disasters provide ample potential for the speakers to come to life. When the disasters unfold, you’ll feel like you’re right in the thick of things, thanks to an immersive experience. There is power to spare, so expect a lot of booming surround use, but there is also plenty of attention to the more subtle elements. So whether its an explosion or a small touch that helps atmosphere, all of the audio elements are well handled here. No issues with dialogue either, while the music sound excellent. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Not all the supplements have been carried over, but some have, such as both audio commentary tracks. I found Roland Emmerich’s session to be a total waste of time, as he offers no real insight and is even delusional at times. The technical track proved to be better, but still wasn’t as informative as I would like. This movie has so many special effects and visual tricks, you’d think the crew would have more than enough stories to fill the time, but sadly, that isn’t the case here. Also back are some deleted scenes and finally, the film’s theatrical trailer. New to this Blu-ray release are a global warming trivia track and a global warming interactive game, if you want to waste your time on those.