Golden rules of a Roland Emmerich blockbuster. Never, ever, let plausibility get in the way of a good story. Don’t worry with expensive actors when you could spend the money on some computer graphics. And always guff on for about 20 minutes after the audience’s buttocks have given way.
And so we have The Day After Tomorrow. On paper, a potentially interesting take on climate change, wrapped around a modern day blockbuster. On screen? A film that demands you not only remove your brain, but also silence any questions, and simply accept everything that happens with the aid of a mountain of salt that should have been bundled with the disc.
In case you missed it, The Day After Tomorrow is the film about the sudden ice age that descends on the world in a matter of minutes. The reasons for this don’t really matter, nor does that fact that some necessarily plot devices don’t seem to be affected by the freeze. The whole thing though is a platform for some admittedly spectacular special effects, into which is thrown some hokum about Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal looking for each other.
Don’t concern yourself too much with that though; Emmerich certainly didn’t. Instead, you can’t help but admire some of the imagery the man throws onto the screen (including the obligatory American blockbuster disaster movie shot of the Statue of Liberty). And if you can get into the blockbuster mindset, then this is decent stuff. In terms of spectacle, it rivals Emmerich’s previous hit Independence Day, although it’s not a better film. But when the shit hits the fan, it’s good, dumbass fun.
In terms of the Blu-ray, the high definition transfer is excellent, too. This is a film that merits the extra pixels, and the key action sequences – while perhaps showing up the computerised nature of the effects a little – look the business here. It’s a terrific transfer, and is easily, effortlessly matched by an outstanding audio track too. Anyone who has invested in a meaty surround sound rig will more than get their reward here: the lossless 5.1 mix is simply brilliant.
Extras? Well, some of the DVD material has been stripped away here, which is a real disappointment considering Blu-ray is trying to position itself as some kind of premium format. What you get is a commentary from Roland Emmerich and producer Mark Gordon, some deleted scenes and a global warming trivia track. There’s also a cold zone interactive game, which gives you 30 seconds to answer questions as the film goes along. It’s a neat little feature, but nothing more.
As a high definition workout, there’s little denying that The Day After Tomorrow really does deliver. Superb picture and audio work are the highlights here, and while the extras package is tame, there’s at least some justification for an upgrade. Shame the film is a little ropey, though…