The Day After Tomorrow
Reviewed by: Brett Willis
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Thriller
2 hr. 4 min.
Year of Release:
May 28, 2004
(above) New York City gets hit with a disaster in 20th Century Fox’s “The Day After Tomorrow”
(above) the Statue of Liberty frozen over
(above) a ship floats down the streets of Manhattan
Tornados ravage Hollywood
The Environment—What is man’s responsibility? Answer
How might rain forest destruction affect our weather? Answer
FLOOD CATASTROPHE—How many people survived the greatest disaster of all times? Answer
Information about the real, worldwide flood that once devastated our planet
Unless you count “Troy,” no war-related films open on or near Memorial Day this year. But we do have a gigantic disaster film with strong ecological and political overtones. From the director of “Independence Day” comes… “The Day After Tomorrow.” No, it’s not a sequel. Some of the same familiar landmarks get destroyed again, but by a different force.
In the “grabber” opening sequence, Prof. Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) and two associates are studying a polar icecap when a large section breaks away, splitting their basecamp in two. The polar caps are melting due to Global Warming, and the paradoxical result is the onslaught of a Northern hemisphere Ice Age, due to the desalinization of the Atlantic Ocean and the disruption of the northward flow of warm ocean currents. In a matter of days, things go from normal to catastrophic.
Jack and others try to warn the Administration of the dangers, so a disaster plan can be implemented in time. But the President can’t be reached; he’s indecisive, he’s heavily-insulated from unwanted input, and he seems to have abdicated most of the decision-making to his older, bespectacled, slightly overweight and balding Vice President, who is having none of this “alarmist” talk since the only important thing is to burn more fossil fuels and keep the economy running. There’s little doubt whom these characters are meant to represent. This is probably the most flagrant caricature of an Administration since John Travolta’s obviously Clintonesque turn in “Primary Colors.”
There’s snow in India, a hailstorm in Japan, and tornadoes in Los Angeles. Then, three continent-size “hurricane” cells form over dry land, and suck supercooled air down from the highest reaches of the atmosphere, causing exposed victims to freeze instantly. And down at the Rio Grande, U.S. citizens fleeing the storm must enter Mexico illegally.
Jack’s 17-year-old son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has inherited Jack’s genius genes but for whom Jack has seldom set aside “quality time,” is in Manhattan with his school team in an academic competition. Sam joined the team to be near fellow-member Laura Chapman (Emmy Rossum), but has never gotten up the nerve to tell her how he feels about her. Now, their romance will have to develop against a backdrop of mortal danger, since they and their friends are trapped when the storm hits. And Jack must “come around” as a father and use his Arctic gear to go on a quest from D.C. to New York to rescue his son. Meanwhile, Jack’s physician wife Lucy (Sela Ward) is occupied with trying to safely evacuate her patients (including a young cancer victim) southward. These and several more tear-jerker scenarios put a human face on the disaster.
VIOLENCE: Kept relatively bloodless, but extreme in its depth and its implications. Similar to “Independence Day” or “Deep Impact.” There are several deaths clearly seen on-screen, and millions more implied. Some dead bodies are seen.
The shots of the Statue of Liberty being half-buried in a tsunami, and later being snowbound and frozen, are beyond words. Nearly all the violence-related special effects are top-notch. The fissure. The flooding. The cargo ship, adrift on a city street. Even the computer-generated wolves are believable. One notable exception: just as in “Twister,” the “hail” is jagged chunks of ice, probably ground up on the spot at the last moment, after each scene’s final light and sound readings were taken. Real hail is roughly spherical in shape.
SEX and NUDITY: Minor. There’s a scene where two undeveloped characters are lying on a couch and the man is preparing to unbutton the woman’s sweater, but they’re rudely interrupted by the storm.
When Sam nearly drowns in freezing water while placing a pay-phone call to his father, Laura helps him strip to his boxers and then holds her body against his, to help him fight off hypothermia. This is the correct thing to do, but Sam doesn’t exactly mind it for other reasons either. Later, when Sam finally tells Laura how he feels, they exchange a few open-mouth kisses.
PROFANITY: Minor. There are about 10 clear profanities, plus about 10 exclamations including “God” (some of which could be viewed as prayers). The Vice-President refers to Environmental concerns as b*s*.
OTHER CONTENT ISSUES: The film’s characters automatically assume a time for the last Ice Age (8000 BC) that’s inconsistent with the Biblical record of the total age of the earth, but is consistent with Uniformitarianism. That system of Geology (the only one taught in most schools) usually claims that there have been four or five Ice Ages, but the data are open to interpretation. The main hobby-horse of the Uniformitarian theory of Ice Ages is the Continental Glaciers, as a way of explaining (1) certain striations in rocks and (2) why loose rock debris with marine fossils is found on mountaintops. According to some geologists and physicists, a Continental Glacier is a physical impossibility, and the fossil phenomena can be explained just as well by water action as by ice action.
Very few characters in the film call on God. Even the Bush-like President has to be reminded by someone else that this would be a good time for prayer. When some people are trapped in the New York Public Library and are burning books to keep warm, one man tries to save a Gutenberg Bible. A woman sarcastically asks if God will save them. The man replies that he doesn’t believe in God, but he wants to preserve that Bible because it was the first printed book, and is therefore a record of MAN’S achievements.
POSITIVE CONTENT: As in other films of this type, there are more brave souls than cowardly ones. Many people risk or sacrifice their lives for others. The only “villain” in the movie (other than the Administration, with its pigheadedness and anti-Environmental policies) is nature itself.
Although all the starring roles are white, there’s some ethnic diversity among the other “hero” characters.
Is this film worth seeing? As much so as anything else in the genre. In addition to the lasting effects of the scariness, impressionable teens and preteens will of course carry away the implied belief system, and those issues should be discussed. Even some “post-teens” will be swayed by the message, and could be influenced at the ballot box in November. I wonder if this film’s budget needs to be counted in the campaign spending limits set by the Federal Election Commission?
REVIEW from ChristianAnswers.Net science Team Member Answers in Genesis
by Brandon Vallorani
Is “global warming” a reality? If so, will it cause another ice age? Does the Bible’s account of history mention a past ice age? What other effects could “global warming” have on the earth and its inhabitants? How should a Christian respond to these and other concerns over the environment? These questions and more are likely to be asked by Christians who watch 20th Century Fox’s latest film, “The Day After Tomorrow.”
Roland Emmerich, the director of “Independence Day,” presents another worldwide disaster movie with stunning visual effects. In the film, an abrupt climate change created by global warming quickly leads to catastrophic effects of “biblical proportions” on the entire planet. Effects range from giant hailstones in Tokyo and twisters in Los Angeles to the climax-another ice age in the Northern Hemisphere.
Weather phenomena of such enormous scale allowed the filmmakers to create unforgettable images-multiple tornadoes ripping through skyscrapers (shown at right) and a tsunami-like wave engulfing the Statue of Liberty (shown at top) and gushing through New York City were just a few examples. In the midst of global chaos, however, the film focuses on the desperate efforts of climatologist Jack Hall, played by Dennis Quaid, to find his son who has been trapped in a snap-frozen New York City.
The movie is appropriately rated PG-13 for “intense situations of peril” and includes a few cases of bad language. Otherwise, it is safe for teens and adults alike. Despite it’s high entertainment value, the film has a clear agenda: global warming is a serious matter that should be a top priority for the government, and those who ignore the obvious warnings are foolish. For example, Jack Hall drives an electric-powered vehicle amidst a sea of gas-guzzling SUV’s. Jack also repeatedly warns the Vice President of the United States (who happens to look very similar to Dick Cheney) of the impending climatic doom. The Vice President stubbornly ignores the obvious conclusions from the scientific data and does not heed Jack’s warnings because of the economic implications of evacuating northern U.S. cities. Millions perish-including the U.S. President (Al Gore-like)-as a result of his negligence. While many climate scientists believe the science of the movie is poor, they are pleased that it is raising the awareness of global warming issues.
In addition to the hyper-environmentalist agenda, the movie also takes pot-shots at Christianity and is sprinkled with evolutionary ideas. In one such scene, Jack’s son Sam finds himself taking shelter in a New York public library with a handful of other survivors-among them are two employees from the library. To stay warm, the survivors and the reluctant library personnel begin to burn some books in a fireplace. The male employee is shown tightly holding onto a rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible-the first printed book in history-hoping to save it from the flames. Another survivor questions his motives by asking if he expects God to save him. He replies that he does not believe in God. Rather, he is only saving this early edition of the Bible because its printing represents the beginning of “The Age of Reason.” Subtle evolutionary ideas are evident in an earlier scene where students are shown standing in front of a mural depicting human evolution.
As to how the movie ends, you’ll have to find out for yourselves. I recommend this movie as good, clean entertainment with this one bit of advice: bring your biblical glasses to the theatre! At Answers in Genesis, our mission is to arm you with resources that help you answer the skeptics, defend your faith, and teach you to see the world through the lens of Scripture. Equipping Christians with answers helps the church to more effectively proclaim the gospel. Here are some answers to questions that will likely be generated by Christians who enjoy this film:
Is “global warming” a reality?
Early in the film, Jack gives a lecture in New Delhi warning that global warming will gradually cause the polar ice caps to melt, introducing fresh water into the oceans, and disrupting the North Atlantic currents. This process results in a rise in sea level (flooding) and cold weather setting in across the Northern Hemisphere.
Global warming is a predicted result of the “Greenhouse Effect.” Certain gases in the atmosphere, mainly water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4), trap heat from escaping the earth. People and animals breathe out CO2 while plants absorb CO2. The burning of large amounts of fossil fuels and the clearing of vegetation to make room for an ever-growing population, however, can upset this delicate balance and lead to an increasing amount of CO2. Simple physics suggests that, all else being equal, the average temperature of the Earth will gradually increase due to these rising CO2 levels-hence the term “global warming.”
Many climate scientists are seriously alarmed about this effect, and the resultant climate disasters it might bring. Others, however, are skeptical of the reality of the greenhouse/global warming effect. This includes meteorologist Michael Oard (recently retired from the National Weather Service and now a speaker for AiG). The fact that there is disagreement over whether increased CO2 levels will cause a hotter world, a colder world, or have no effect whatsoever raises an important point. Evolutionary scientists can’t agree on what is happening to the temperature in the present, yet they pronounce with certainty on the temperature a few seconds after their supposed “big bang” billions of years ago?
Does the Bible mention an Ice Age?
In the film, Jack bases his warnings of an impending catastrophe on his studies about similar weather patterns inferred from the past-he specifically mentions an ice age. The term “ice age” is not clearcut; one hears about a “mini ice age” in which the climate generally became cooler. But THE Ice Age refers to the evidence of a time when there not just cold temperatures, were great ice sheets-glaciers-covering large parts of the northern and southern hemispheres. Many Christians are not aware of the fact that the Bible actually provides the best mechanism for a great Ice Age-a global Flood. Paradoxically, warmer waters are needed to give the massive evaporation required to “pump” huge volumes of water out of the oceans into the atmosphere so they can give the increased snowfall needed to form the ice sheets. Michael Oard has written books and given several lectures on this subject. See the following interview between Carl Wieland and Mike Oard, “Tackling the big freeze.”
Could “global warming” cause another ice age?
This is highly unlikely and just where the movie transitions from reasonable to sensational. In the May 27th issue of USA Today, Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist of Canada’s University of Victoria, is reported to say that the effects of a freshwater dump into the Atlantic would only shift the Gulf Stream slightly east. As a result Canada’s Labrador Sea may see lower temperatures. The effects on the rest of the world, however, appear negligible because global warming means hotter summers-not very conducive to an ice age. Weaver says, “It’s the ‘Towering Inferno’ of climate science movies, but I’m not losing any sleep over a new ice age, because it’s impossible.”
However, even though the movie’s science is generally acknowledged as seriously flawed, at least it draws attention to the fact that “icing” may be the result of “warming,” though not in the way it depicts. This film is a great opportunity for Christians to start a conversation about the real Ice Age and how the Bible explains it; see the web version of a chapter from our popular Answers Book entitled What about the Ice Age? Showing people in such ways how the Bible connects to, and explains, reality has often led to solid conversions.
What other effects may “global warming” have?
There are various views amongst creationists as to what effect “global warming” could have on the earth. As Carl Wieland states in his article, “Fouling the Nest,” “The generally predicted result is an increase in mean global temperature, with effects on human society ranging from mild to catastrophic. Warmer oceans would mean more water vapor (which traps even more heat) and expanded ocean volumes. This, coupled with partial melting of the ice sheets, would raise average sea levels, submerging whole communities, even entire small island nations. The drastic weather effects could include huge droughts in Australia, flooding and landslides in the western US, and much greater hurricane/cyclone activity. Paradoxically, the Gulf Stream might slow down or stop, so northern Europe would get much colder.”
Conversely, Wieland also presents the case that the massive evaporation of oceans caused by global warming could lead to increased cloud cover reflecting more heat from the sun back into space-actually cooling the earth. However, depending on the type of cloud cover, he points out, it could actually do the opposite, though current modeling suggests that cooling is more likely. Atmospheric scientist Dr Larry Vardiman, of the Institute for Creation Research, calls this a created “thermostat” mechanism intended to cope with temperature fluctuations and prevent a runaway greenhouse effect.
How should a Christian respond to these and other concerns over the environment?
The Bible clearly teaches that God made humans the stewards of the earth-giving them the responsibility of caring for what has been entrusted to them. In Genesis 1:28, God told Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 2:15 states, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”
Once Adam disobeyed God, however, we became a fallen and sinful race living in a cursed world. Man lost his ability to be a perfect steward. Even though the resources God created are there for our use, man has often exploited them at the expense of his fellow man. How wrong it is to cause needless loss and destruction of other parts of God’s creation.
Alternatively, much of the focus of the environmentalist movement is evolutionary and pantheistic, worshipping the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1). This modern movement ignores the biblical mandate to rule over the earth and subdue it, and it replaces God’s Word as the ultimate authority. Is it necessarily wrong to develop energy sources such as coal, natural gas, petroleum, etc.? Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 states that there is a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time for war and a time for peace. We need to adopt and develop a Christian environmental ethic based on God’s Word all the while understanding that our sinful nature may blind us.
The movie’s title, “The Day After Tomorrow,” implies that there is a crisis coming and we need to be ready. While the movie may be incorrect about another ice age there really is a crisis coming-Judgment Day. Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Do you believe the Word of God and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? If so, are you living out your faith? Are you able to defend your faith in a culture that no longer recognizes the Bible as authoritative? As 1 Peter 3:15 teaches, we need to be ready to give an answer for why we have hope as Christians.
Summer Escapist Movie Offers No Escape from Politics
When a Hollywood disaster movie opens on Memorial Day weekend, there may be some drama outside the movie theater as well as inside: Liberal and conservative groups are both recruiting volunteers to hand out flyers explaining the “facts” on global warming.
“The Day After Tomorrow” is a climate disaster movie about the apocalyptic effects of global warming. It is, by all accounts, more fiction than fact—but even so, liberal activists at MoveOn.org believe “everyone will be talking about it—and asking ‘Could it really happen?’”
MoveOn.org says the movie premiere offers “an unprecedented opportunity to talk to millions of Americans about the real dangers of global warming and expose President Bush’s foot-dragging on the issue.”
The anti-Bush group is recruiting volunteers to hand out flyers in front of movie theaters. According to MoveOn.org, those flyers “explain, in everyday language, what causes global warming, how Bush’s environmental policies could lead us into a real-life climate crisis, and what we can do together to meet this challenge.”
It now appears that the MoveOn activists may have company: A conservative group called RightMarch.com announced plans on Wednesday to hand out some flyers of its own.
RightMarch.com says that for over a year, it has “successfully thwarted the outright fabrications of liberal groups such as MoveOn.org.”
On Memorial Day, RightMarch.com hopes to set the “environmental facts straight,” in what it calls a “battle for the truth.”
Conservative activists plan to hand out flyers saying, “Don’t let radical left-wing environmentalists fool you.” The flyers say “The Day After Tomorrow” does not employ sound science—because—“it’s just a MOVIE” (their emphasis).
MoveOn.org agrees that the movie is “more science fiction than science fact.” But the liberal group sees the movie premiere as an opportunity to drum up support for the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act—which would create “national caps on the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.”
The MoveOn.org Web site urges activists to sign up to distribute flyers on the afternoon of Friday, May 28—the day the movie premieres. “The local news likely to be there covering the movie’s opening!,” the group’s Web site notes.
Conservatives say the Climate Stewardship Act is based on the same faulty science as the movie is. They say efforts to cap greenhouse gas emissions would cripple the U.S. economy.
The RightMarch.com flyers direct movie-goers to a Web site that exposes “enviro-myths,” and it urges people to tell Congress and the President to “STOP the socialistic Climate Stewardship Act.”
“Act NOW,” RightMarch.com warned—“because the day after tomorrow, radical leftists may have wrecked America’s economy.”
Gore Warns of “Climate Emergency” While Promoting Disaster Film
by Marc Morano (CNS News Senior Staff Writer
Former Vice President Al Gore warned of a “climate emergency” as he joined forces with political activists from MoveOn.org [an anti-Bush Web site] to promote a Hollywood disaster film that shows global warming creating an ice age and causing massive destruction.
“The Day After Tomorrow,” a 20th Century Fox production set for release on Memorial Day, stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid. The $125-million movie will offer “a rare opportunity to have a national conversation about what truly should be seen as a global climate emergency,” Gore told reporters.
“I hope this movie will provide many opportunities for in-depth conversations about what this issue is really all about,” Gore added.
Rolland Emmerich directed “The Day After Tomorrow.” His disaster/adventure film portfolio also includes “Godzilla” and “Independence Day.”
Emmerich’s latest offering depicts global climate change wreaking havoc on the Earth by causing a rapid ice age in much of the world. Los Angeles is slammed by massive tornados, New York City receives depths of snow nearly as high as skyscrapers, New Delhi, India, is also consumed by snowstorms and Tokyo is pounded by giant hailstorms.
Gore was joined at the press conference by Peter Shurman, executive director of the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org, and Dan Schrag, a professor of paleoclimatology at Harvard University. According to Schurman, “The Day After Tomorrow” is the “movie President Bush does not want you to see.”
But it is Gore’s promotion of the film that has prompted critics from both sides of the climate-change debate to ridicule his efforts.
Gregg Easterbrook, a senior editor at New Republic Online and one who believes that human-caused climate change is real, said Gore is doing a disservice to the environmental cause by affiliating himself with a Hollywood disaster film.
“Once Gore was a serious thinker on environmental issues and diligently sought out top-notch advice… Now Gore appears ready to affiliate his reputation with a cheapo, third-rate disaster movie that makes Fantastic Voyage seem like a peer-reviewed technical paper,” Easterbrook wrote.
Easterbrook assailed the movie’s “imbecile-caliber” science: “By presenting global warming in a laughably unrealistic way, the movie will only succeed in making audiences think that climate change is a big joke, when in fact the real science case for greenhouse-gas reform gets stronger all the time.”
Easterbrook fears the greenhouse effect will be trivialized through its connection to a disaster movie, which he believes is “scientifically illiterate.” And ultimately, “The Day After Tomorrow” may convince audiences that the global warming threat is just another Hollywood gimmick.
Gore called a “sock puppet” for MoveOn.org
Easterbrook also criticized Gore for his close affiliation with MoveOn.org, the liberal group propped up by huge donations from billionaire financier George Soros for the express purpose of defeating President Bush.
“It’s easy to see why MoveOn.org wants the reflection of the new movie’s limelight; wild exaggeration is a good fundraising tool. But if Gore associates himself with this mindless film, he will have completed his descent from serious thinker and national leader to MoveOn.org’s sock puppet,” Easterbrook wrote.
David Rothbard, president of the Washington, D.C.-based free market group, Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), rejects what he sees as climate change alarmism.
“Since Al Gore had such success peddling science fiction as reality in his book Earth in the Balance, it’s no surprise he’s all ozoned-up about a global warming movie with similar fantasy-as-fact foundations,” Rothbard told CNSNews.com.
“Gore talks about a “global climate emergency,” but with scientific evidence mounting against any catastrophic man-made warming, the only global emergency would be if this movie resuscitates an otherwise dying Kyoto (global warming) treaty,” Rothbard said.
“With an epic doomsday movie like “The Day After Tomorrow,” green leaders have finally found the proper genre in which to market their end-is-near alarmism,” he added.