2004-06-18 / Columnists

MovieScope By Robert Snyder

MovieScope By Robert Snyder

‘The Day After Tomorrow’ –

Angry Earth

The only moment worth remembering in "The Day After Tomorrow" is when a huge "Wizard of Oz"-type tornado totals the Hollywood sign is Los Angeles. It is an awe-inspiring image of divine retribution. Although disaster master Roland Emmerich may be biting the hand that feeds him with a such a satisfying effect, he gives us many others in his end-of-the-world epic that are genuinely disturbing in these post-9/11 times... in particular, tidal waves washing the streets of Manhattan, followed by snow that rises up to the Statue of Liberty’s chin. However, none of his Hollywood horrors match the enormity of the true World Trade Center tragedy, which will forever relegate movie make-believe to the kiddie corner. Is there anyone still shocked by "The Towering Inferno?"

The maker of the successful "Independence Day" has cranked out his current apocalyptic flick for hordes of audience members seeking some fake catharsis to mask the real warnings of another terrorist attack. But is a mad Mother Nature more terrifying than suicidal religious fanatics? Somehow, an angry Earth seems easier to reason with.

In "Day," the finger of blame points to two visionless White House leaders, a strangely familiar all powerful Vice President (Kenneth Welsh) and his subservient President (Perry King), who view climatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) as a modern-day Chicken Little ranting, "Global warming is coming!" Hall should know because he was in the Artic when the continental ice cap cracked between his legs.

Mother Nature isn’t considerate enough to rein in her wrath until the Bush/Cheney look-alikes complete their terms of office. Before long, the world weather has gone wacky with hail storms, tornadoes and tidal waves.

The only attempt at a storyline has Jack traveling from Washington, D.C., to Manhattan in super bad weather to save his estranged teenage son Sam (John Gyllenhaal) and assuage his guilt as a neglectful father. Any intensity from the spectacular special effects is undercut by the seriously silly dialogue. When Jack and his sidekick’s vehicle becomes stalled in the white stuff outside the Big Apple, heroic climatologist says, "Unpack your snowshoes. We’re walking from here."

If you’re looking for a select reel of nature at its nastiest. "The Day After Tomorrow" may be your type of entertainment. However, those in need of a heart, soul and storyline should trek to "Shrek 2."

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