Why ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ is secretly amazing – USA TODAY

Independence Day: Resurgence hasn’t so much resurged as it has returned with a resounding sigh.
The 20-years-later sequel, directed by Roland Emmerich, hits theaters Friday and the reviews are, well, not great (as USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt put it, “Ridiculousness needs to abound somewhat in a film like this — reality takes a seat early and often here — but Resurgence pushes everything to an egregiously over-the-top and often infuriating degree”).
But don’t fear, if you’re looking to scratch that disaster movie itch, we recommend you check out one of Emmerich’s other films: The Day After Tomorrow. You remember it. It’s the 2004 Global-Warming-is-going-to-kill-us-but-like-tomorrow-with-a-giant-snowstorm disaster movie starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is not what one would call, a “classic” (it has a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).
But The Day After Tomorrow, despite its flaws, is actually one of the most satisfying and enjoyable films around. It is and remains one of my favorite movies of all time, and one of the movies I’ve rewatched the most. Here’s why.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum have a sweet teen love story. Dennis Quaid is an action hero. Sela Ward is the last good doctor in the world. What’s not to love?
Gyllenhaal is great, but the real star of this movie is the tidal wave over the Statue of Liberty. That tidal wave deserves an Oscar for best supporting actor. Even 12 years later, the effects (including the aforementioned wave, a dozen tornadoes destroying LA, and a frozen dystopian Manhattan) are still incredibly impressive without verging into the “too much CGI” territory (cough so many 2016 movies cough).
There’s no denying, this movie is chock full of good, old-fashioned Hollywood cheese. Enjoy exchanges like “I thought you said it was too dangerous to go outside. “I know I did.” And beyond the fact that when it tries to be serious it often goes into the realm of the melodramatic, it also has plenty of humor. Like when the survivors at the library happily burn a bunch of tax law books to stay warm.
One of the things that separates this movie from many, many other “disaster porn” flicks is that at the end of the day (or the 2 hour and 4 minute run time) there is a little bit of hope and a little bit of a message about Global Warming (remember when the astronauts talk about how clear the sky is?). When Superman killed Zod, what were we hopeful for again? That Batman v Superman wouldn’t do the same thing?


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