The Day After Tomorrow is NOT your typical patriotic disaster movie. I think it is very political, though, and each citizen of the earth and lawmakers would do well to sit up, take notice, and action.
Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is a climatologist doing research with two colleagues in Antarctica when the ledge they are on starts to split. Next Jack is in New Delhi speaking at a conference on global warming and the vice president (Kenneth Welsh) of the US ridicules Jack for being more concerned over the environment than the economy. They argue over the U.S. lack of signing of the Kyoto Accord. A British climatologist (Ian Holm) befriends Jack – just in time for Jack’s predictions about a new ice age come true.
The colder it got in the movie, the colder it got in the theater, so I for one, felt like I was in New York as it froze over. New York’s counterpart in disaster movies, Los Angeles, gets destroyed by cyclones… and by the way, Fox News covers it all – they really do disasters well, from wars to the biggest storms to hit the earth for last 10,000 millennia. You always feel like you are at a football game. The VP has more power than the president, so, did they try to make him look like VP Cheney?
I know some critics from the scientific community think this film is off base and that it is entertainment dabbling in science and politics. But I say, good for the filmmakers. This is an excellent way to sensitize people to how we are trashing the earth and possible consequences. Sure, maybe it won’t be another ice age. But we will never even know the effect of plastic on the environment in our generation.
The big question here is: is the economy more important than the environment? Well, no environment, no economy. No economy, hopefully, we will still have the wherewithall to survive – as long as the destruction of the environment hasn’t led to the collapse of the economy. Then, all we will have left is remorse and prayer.
We just passed Earth Day a few weeks ago. In case you didn’t know, the Catholic version of Earth Day is January 1. For many years of his pontificate, John Paul II has made a statement on the environment on that day. The care for the earth and the integrity of creation form one ofthe principles of Catholic social teaching.
Although you rarely if ever see these kinds of films with females in the lead roles, e.g. mother-daughter, I did like that Jack, who is separated from his wife in the film (Sela Ward), makes and keeps his promise to his son.
Another interesting “idea” in the film is that the weather is the alien, the evil, that is attacking the US and the rest of the world. But I don’t think anyone would call the catastrophe in the film an “act of God.” It’s not God’s fault that humanity is not caring for the earth.
When the U.S. flag freezes, that’s when I knew for sure that this is not a typical patriotic Memorial Day/4th of July disaster movie. At the end the president (former v.p. because the president doesn’t make it out of the country) expresses humility!!! and thanks to Mexico and other Third World and developing nations for their hospitality to U.S. citizens. A cinematic first!