Day After Tomorrow (The) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (28th October 2007).
The Film

Director Roland Emmerich has carved out a career of big-budget-large-scale-summer-blockbuster-type-movies; he's one of a few directors that have had a lot of success creating nonsense fodder for the popcorn crowd. His film are often bloated, feature lackluster scripting and acting but are usually entertaining (with the exception of "Godzilla" (1998) which was painful for all involved including the audience) and feature some high class special effects that tend to steal the show. It seems that Emmerich puts more effort into making each film visually exciting that the story, plot points, acting and even logic are thrown out the window. "The Day After Tomorrow" is one such film and another in a line of epic scale productions for the director, taking as page from the disaster films of the 1970's like "Earthquake" (1974) which takes an act of god and escalates it a 100 times as we watch people try to survive the insurmountable odds, but in "The Day After Tomorrow" it seems like it's been escalated by a million times taking the whole global warming message the film is trying (key word 'trying') to get out to an extreme so preposterous that causes most scientist that studies weather patterns and the effects of global warming to scream "bullshit!". The whole concept is bullshit, but those going in expecting a scientifically plausible storyline are in it for the wrong reasons. The filmmakers can sugar coat their press releases all they like about making a statement about the devastation humans are doing to the Earth and our carbon footprints, etc. but at the end of the day this film is about entertaining the mass audience with a bit of adventure, some cool special effects and a plot so full of holes and shortcomings that they hope you don't noticed with the help of said effects that work as a sort of misdirection.
"The Day After Tomorrow" tells the story of Professor Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), a Climatologist whose ultimate prediction on extreme climate change begins much sooner than anticipated. The greenhouse effect has gotten to a point where it's severely altered weather patterns and a new ice age has been triggered. The entire Northern stretch of the country has to be evacuated as Jack's son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) waits out the storm in New York. In an effort to save his son Jack mounts an expedition and makes the furious trek from Washington D.C. to New York
After reading the non-fiction novel "The Coming Global Superstorm" by Art Bell and Whitley Strieber, Emmerich was influenced to write the script only reducing the time frame of the catastrophic event for entertainment value. The script's shortcomings however are many; the major one is the film's inability to maintain it's fast pace structure introduced in the first half of the film. There's a rapid build up at the start, within the first 30 minutes we know who's who and what's about to happen, the events quickly unfurl and suddenly the audience is hit with a series of impressive special effects action set pieces that include the tsunami that devastates New York and the Tornadoes tearing apart Los Angeles. However once the storms shift into the freezing cold snap that begins to engulf the entire Northern Hemisphere the film's pace starts to lag as it tries to become focused on the family drama as Jack attempts to save his son. The seemingly endless scenes of Jack and his colleagues walking through whiteout snow conditions isn't exciting or entertaining at all and the sheer stupidity of the action itself is enough to make you roll your eyes.
The casting is a peculiar one, when you think of large scale pictures such as this you'd normally associate the involvement of A-level Hollywood cast but "The Day After Tomorrow" goes in a different direction and casts in a low-key manner with Quaid an exception but not a big enough exception as I wouldn't consider Quaid to be among the top echelon of actors currently working in Hollywood. But with people like Ian Holm and Jake Gyllenhaal you'd expect some memorable performance but instead we get nothing of the sort, these actor's merely serve the spectacle and nothing else.
And the spectacle is why you go an see a movie like this, the effects are the crown jewel of this picture, the film's trailer certainly markets the hell out of that aspect with striking money shots of the frozen Statue of Liberty, the tornado sequence in Los Angeles equally memorable as the Capital Records building is torn apart. The wizards at ILM utilized many tricks including miniatures and CG effects, the CG flooding is particularly realistic and kudos goes to the effects crew that pulled out some visually awesome stuff and it's their efforts that likely sparked the huge $85 million opening weekend as the film went on to gross over $500 million at the box office as punters seemed to avoid the mostly negative reviews of the film.

Video

Presented in the film's original 2.40:1 theatrical ratio this transfer is presented in 1080p 24/fps high-definition and has been created using AVC MPEG-4 compression and mastered onto a 50 GB dual layer disc, which allows the film some room to breathe considering it's runtime. The image is sharp for the most part however there were a couple of occasions where it was a bit soft such as some green screen composites with CG backgrounds (check out the opening scene were the ice breaks up endangering Jack's crew some close ups look a bit soft). However the remainder of the transfer remains consistently sharp. Detail is clear which adds to the depth of the transfer, the water effects look brilliant and the many gorgeous money shots are also magnificent as this transfer does credit to the film's photography. Colors hold up well and the film's predominantly icy color palette is rendered well without flaws. I spotted no grain, compression problems or edge-enhancement and am safe in saying this transfer is of reference quality.

Audio

Three audio tracks are included in English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround presented in 48kHz/24-bit as well as a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in both French and Spanish. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-HD soundtrack and I'm happy to report that this soundtrack makes a great companion to the stellar image. This DTS-HD track virtually explodes throughout all speakers, the aggressive track pumps out the effects with force that makes you feel like you're among the devastating storms, the tornadoes that rip apart L.A. or that tsunami which buries New York under water. In fact you could say that this soundtrack outshines the picture in terms of sheer excitement value. The bass adds a further level of depth as the track shows off its range from the quieter more ambient moments to the powerful storm-action sequences. Anyone with a home theater surround system capable of enjoying the benefits of high-definition should be pleased with this presentation.

Optional subtitles are also included in English for the hearing impaired, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.

Extras

Fox has released this film with two audio commentaries, deleted scenes, an interactive game and a trivia track. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up is a feature-length audio commentary with the film's co-writer/director Roland Emmerich and producer Mark Gordon. This is quite possibly the one of the most tiresome commentaries I've ever had to listen to, the track is filled with silent gaps as these two basically watch the movie with you. They comment on a few topics, producer Gordon had the most interesting things to say as he reveals some production issues and shares some of the experiences from making the film while director Emmerich seems to spend most of his time telling listeners how wonderful the entire cast was in a series of over-long back-patting sessions. Perhaps this would have been a better track had they included more participants such as cast or even the special effects crew?

The second feature-length audio commentary is with the film's co-writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff, cinematographer Ueli Steiger, editor David Brenner and production designer Barry Chusid. Much more technically-minded this track takes us through the challenges of making an effects-laden film as the participants talk about their various roles on the production and how each one had to work in tandem to pull off some complex scenes that include blue/green screens and heavy CGI modeling and compositing all the elements into the final shot(s). There's some really solid stuff amid this track but it's really only for those interested in the whole process of creating a film such as this from a technical standpoint, otherwise you'd likely be bored and skip this extra.

Following those tracks are a series of 10 deleted scenes which can be viewed with optional audio commentary by the fim's co-writer/director Roland Emmerich and producer Mark Gordon. In the track they touch on the scenes and why they were omitted from the final version of the film. These scenes can be viewed individually or with a 'play all' function and include:

- "Scene 21: Kid's Study" runs for 1 minute 34 seconds, Sam brings Laura and Brian to his Dad's apartment to study.
- "Scene 25: Gary's Shady Deal" runs for 2 minutes 44 seconds, this is an unused sub-plot about Gary the stockbroker calling his Japanese Partner about their insider trading deal.
- "Scene 9-19: Hurricane Hunter/Kono Beach" runs for 4 minutes 23 seconds, a NASA weather plane is caught in a storm and some kids try to evacuate their beach house.
- "Scene 25: Gary vs. Foster" runs for 46 seconds, Gary is warned about insider trading and is told to dump his stock.
- "Scene 59: Tommy's Big Break" runs for 55 seconds, Tommy the weather man gets a break in covering a storm.
- "Scene 100-103: "Stock Market Crash" runs for 1 minute 11 seconds, features a news report about the crash as the stockbrokers decide to celebrate the end of their careers.
- "Scene 156: Ask Mexico For Help" runs for 59 seconds, the President's Military Advisors tell him to declare war on Mexico if they don't open their borders.
- "Scene 207A: Campbell & Co./Last Exit to Brooklyn" runs for 43 seconds, the Library evacuees make it to Brooklyn as they try to flee South.
- "Scene 200-206: Wolf Chase Part 2" runs for 1 minute 32 seconds, during the big freeze the wolves continue to chase the boys into the Library and eventually freeze outside their doors.
- "Scene 209-210B: First Version of Jack and Jason After The Big Freeze" runs for 3 minutes 47 seconds, an alternate version of the scene where Jack and Jason seek shelter inside a Wendy's fast food restaurant.

Included as well is theatrical trailer "A" which runs for 1 minute 42 seconds and theatrical trailer "B" which runs for 2 minutes 9 seconds.

Also on the disc are a series of bonus trailers for:

- "Alien Vs. Predator" which runs for 2 minutes 17 seconds.
- "Fantastic Four" which runs for 2 minutes 29 seconds.
- "Planet of the Apes" which runs for 55 seconds.
- "X-Men: The Last Stand" which runs for 2 minutes 29 seconds.

There are also a series of high-definition exclusive features that include:

- "Cold Zone" Global Warming interactive game, this is a Java based game that runs while the movie plays, you must answer a series of questions using your remote, you have 30 seconds to answer, The object is to keep the temperature steady, wrong or no answers will result in the temperature dropping.
- "Global Warming" trivia track is a pop-up info track that plays along the movie, occasional facts about Global Warming can be seen on-screen.
- "Search content" (A-Z topics), this is similar to scene selection only you can search by topic rather than scene such as "blood poisoning", "Eye of the Storm", selecting these topics takes you the point in the film in which they are included.
- Personal Scene Selection bookmarks, allows you to bookmark your favorite scenes.
- "D-Box" enabled support; if you have a D-Box motion set-up this disc is compatible.

Overall

The Film: Video: Audio: Extras: Overall:

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.