Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Winter falls with a resounding thud. (Spoilers!)

Went to see The Day After Tomorrow yesterday.

Bad, bad disaster movie. Good special effects. Interesting politics.

Knowing in advance that the plot wasn't very good, and not expecting anything better from Roland "Of course the alien computers speak ASCII" Emmerich, your intrepid reporter was able to stifle screams of pain until the third act, and to not actually disturb other patrons until the closing credits.

You will have heard the plot by now: Dennis Quaid discovers impending ice age, ice age remodels Los Angeles, then New York, effects budget runs out, movie ends. You may have even heard that the Republican National Church doesn't much care for this movie. I hadn't heard that particular story until moments before the movie started.

Here's why the GOP hates this movie: it isn't the preachy, completely expected "Mankind is ruining the planet" speeches (which were so cliched the filmgoing audience could have easily sang along). No, they hate what is possibly the best characterization in the movie.

See, a disaster movie of this scale (instant ice age - just add CGI) aimed at American audiences will inevitably feature a scene with the President. In Independence Day, we got President Bill Pullman, ex-fighter-jock, and cut from whole cloth. Ice Age Day After Tomorrow gives us Perry King and Kenneth Welsh as President Blake and Vice President Becker. That's what it says in the credits, but what we see on screen is a Bush/Cheney show that could be taken on the road.

Welsh's VP is clearly in charge of things - he's the busy man surrounded by aides and sounding Presidential or at least right-wing Republican. King's President is seen alone in the Oval Office. When a key decision needs to be made, the President redeems himself by cutting the obvious puppet strings and making the correct, painful decision.

I applaud that - it was the second-best part of the movie (after the effects).

My suspension of disbelief - already tenuous by this point - crumbled during the third act upon observing that the space station seemed to have been placed into a retrograde orbit. And I actively cursed at the screen when I saw the following credit:

Inspired by the book
"The Coming Global Superstorm"
by Art Bell and Whitley Streiber

Art Bell and Whitley Streiber?

Gibbering, I was led from the theater.


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