The Day After Tomorrow: All Access Edition

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

When you see a movie like The Day After Tomorrow, certain things must be taken into account. First, the movie comes from Roland Emmerich, the same director who brought us “Independence Day”, “Godzilla” and “Stargate”; so we can expect a big budget production where stuff blows up. Hey, nothing wrong with that. Second, there will be subplots that we don’t care about (and this has quite a few). The audience just wants more of stuff blowing up. And lastly, we can almost be assured that all of the main characters will make it to the ending credits. That said, these types of movies aren’t bad. I remember the trailer for “Independence Day” during the Super Bowl where the White House blew up. It was a shocking moment and the movie went onto become one of the biggest successes of all-time. But the shock value has worn off and new ways must be found to entice the audience to see your movie. You can have a good storyline that will make the audience think. Ok…next. You can have “A” list actors like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. Nope. Or you can destroy national monuments like the Statue of Liberty and hope that people will want to go see why. Check.

The Day After Tomorrow proposes that the Earth will enter a new ice age as a result of global warming. Primaclimatoligist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) has this theory and is trying to get the Vice-President of the United States to listen. Though he doesn’t think this will happen for a couple hundred years, it starts happening the next week. Tornadoes destroy downtown Los Angeles (yes, even the “Hollywood” sign is destroyed – think there might be a hidden message there), New York City is flooded then frozen and Eurpoe is under fifteen feet of snow. And there really isn’t any good news in sight, unless you count the people in the Southern United States and Mexico, they’ll be safe if they keep moving South. But anyone who lives, say, above the Mason-Dixon Line is probably a Popsicle. The main plot, aside from the destruction of humanity, is when Jack tries to make his way from Washington D.C. to Manhattan where his son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is stranded with his friends at the New York Public Library. People fall by the wayside, of course, but will Jack find his son, reunite with his wife and live happily ever after? You tell me.

It would seem that after all, The Day After Tomorrow would be a really bad movie. In fact, it’s not. It’s one of those movies that you check your brain at the door (never a problem for me), sit back and let the images dazzle you. The more I think about it, the more I feel the plot is a direct copy of “Independence Day” instead of aliens destroying all of our landmarks, Mother Nature does it instead. Hey, if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it, right? The characters are paper thin and the script is so clich├ęd that it’s silly. Then again, that’s the point of the movies. When it comes to “destruction” movies like this, it’s hard to really get it right. That’s to say the right mix of action/humor/drama to make us care and get emotionally involved with the characters on screen. It’s been done before, of course, “The Towering Inferno”, “Titanic” and “The Poseiden Adventure” all had the same general storyline, but had good scripts and dimensional characters that we cared about. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, but “The Day After Tomorrow” isn’t as bad as it seems. If nothing else, it looks and sounds good so you can give your speakers a workout.

Video: How does it look?

The Day After Tomorrow is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is the same visual treatment as the original release, so no need to waste keystrokes in this department. I did notice a bit of softness to some of the shots and a bit of grain in some others, which surprised me. The movie isn’t too terribly long at just over two hours, but maybe the dual Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks plus two commentary tracks took a toll on the compression. Still, it’s clean and very clear and all of the special effect shots that define the movie, look great. So while not up the Fox’s elite level for some of the studio’s new releases, the movie looks good here, so we can’t complain too much.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio remains the same this time around too, but with both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks on deck, I doubt anyone will mind. There are two 5.1 soundtracks, a Dolby Digital and a DTS and I’m actually going to have to give the edge to the DD. Don’t get me wrong, the DTS is great, with a stunning depth that literally rocks the room; but the Dolby Digital sounded a bit more crisp in places while still delivering the punch that the DTS did. Either one you choose will sound good, but this type of movie is made for audio and the louder the better. Still, the discrete surround effects do come into play at times during the film and they are faithfully re-created here. In any case, both tracks offer up super soundtracks and either one will provide a fine experience. This release also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish, just in case you might need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Now this is where this new Collector’s Edition has to earn its keep, as the video and audio are the same, so the extras have to be much improved. The same two audio commentary tracks return, a rather pointless director’s session and a second track with members of the technical staff. I think this space could have been better used, given the general lack of insight in Emmerich’s solo session. The number of deleted scenes is upped from a couple to ten, but this is not crucial material, just excised footage that was cut for a reason. The Force of Destiny is a feature length documentary designed to scare us into recycling and being paranoid about the environment, so it is good for a few laughs. Given the rabid eco-terrorists who likely support this movie, this piece seems at home on this release. Another hour long documentary follows the film’s production and while extensive, doesn’t go as in depth as I would have liked. A series of pre and post production featurettes fill in some of the gaps though, so not all is lost. This release also includes a wealth of pre-production materials, as well as the film’s teaser and theatrical trailers.

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