The Day After Tomorrow is a disaster movie that shows us the perils of Global Warming. Instead of melting and all of us dying from the water, we are faced with a different threat that may be just as grave. The World is freezing over and there doesn't seem to be anything that humanity can do. Will we survive or will we perish?
There are several "main" characters in this film, but the true main character would be either Jack or Sam. My money's on Jack, but they both get a pretty big role. Jack tries to warn everyone about the grave threat that they now face, but they don't believe him until it's too late. Jack must now venture through the frozen cities to find his son before it is too late. Will he arrive in time? His son is also keeping busy as he tries to stay alive while at the library with his friends, a librarian, a guy who likes books, and a guy who's with his pet dog as they try to survive in this world. They decide to wait out the storm, but can they resist the frozen embrace of nature? There are other plots including Jack's wife as she tries to save the life of a kid in a pretty serious condition and a group of researchers who are gathering a lot of information, but have no way of getting outside their residence.
The film does have some pretty nice fake out moments. There is one scene where this guy is eating at a shop and looks pretty nervous as the cops come around. He gets a few lines and we quickly figure that he'll be one of the main characters. As he makes his get away; the character gets destroyed by an ice ball. Most of the other citizens in the area are quickly defeated as well, which is bad news for the area. Until the figure dies, you figure that he would be a main character so that was nicely played.
The special effects are pretty fun to watch and we get to see New York City destroyed for the first time in days! I've always found it amusing to see the city decimated in so many films because we get to see which threat can defeat it first. Will it be Chitauri, Cloverfield Monster, Apes, Kaiju, Thunder, or Giant Marshmallows? Either way, New York always puts up a pretty good fight! The "science" of it all may not be very realistic, but you can ignore that since this is a film and just watch the action!
The film was moving along at a solid pace until a very unnecessary scene that involved some Wolves. It was nice to see that they escaped their confines, but it quickly got worse as they fought the main characters. Animal violence shouldn't have been included in this film and it definitely hurt the film. Why did they have to add this!? The other main animal looks pretty good as he survives throughout the whole film with a grin. He shows the world that he's a true dog and gets to take a nice bite out of a hot dog and essentially has more to eat than the other characters. He also knows when its time to bark and he keeps everyone nice and alert. No cruel fate befell him and that was a good move.
The film did a good job of portraying the United States and I've always been a fan of the Government scenes. Right when they called in The President; I knew that things were about to get real. He makes the tough calls and his final scene is pretty intense. He acts pretty confident the whole time and he was a solid character. The Vice President is intriguing since he took The News surprisingly (heh) well. He gives Jack a pretty hard time throughout the film, but I suppose that anyone would have done so, considering his lack of data. The Vice President also did want to save the people in the North so he's not all bad. He didn't see eye to eye with the main character, but he did want to save as many people as he could.
Jack is a pretty solid main character and he's a determined person. He goes a long way to try and save his son while also trying to convince the Government of how grave the threat is. He may have been a little snippy while briefing The President and pals, but he was in a rush and needed to hurry to his son, so it was understandable. He just gave them the quick plan and he headed out. He's definitely one of the better main characters that we've seen in a while and he does a good job of taking charge and thinking ahead.
His two partners are not so lucky and it's hard to like any of them. The older one is around, but he's not very useful and he just doesn't get much screen time. The younger one isn't likable from the start and he doesn't seem to realize the gravity of the situation that has befallen the Earth. Janet is not usually one of Jack's partners, but she comes to help out in this time of desperation and she provides them with a lot of data via satellite. She's a pretty high ranking person so she definitely helps a great deal, although her role is not very large in the film. She's definitely better than Jack's two flunkies partners.
I have to say that the kids subplot was not nearly as interesting. Sam and his two friends are a part of a big school competition when the disaster strikes. I just didn't enjoy the three of them so much. Sam is always making a grimace when he's on screen and his emotional moments are not that great. His phone call with Jack also didn't go so well since he could have made sure to say that he was okay at the end. Instead he paused as the water flooded in. I didn't like his "Rival" either and the best part of that subplot were the supporting characters.
The guy and his dog were interesting figures from the start. The guy is pretty quick and he knows how to survive in this cruel world. He's the main source of humor in the film and he does a good job of making everyone look bad while he continues to survive. His dog is very sensitive to disturbances in The Force nature and he always gives the characters a form of early warning. The Librarian was helpful and essentially saved the kids' lives as she let them into a nice room where they were able to keep warm. The guy who liked books was also solid since he made sure that the great authors could stay safe. This guy plans ahead and was ready to save Western Civilization at any cost! There was another person in there and she put up a pretty good argument as to why one of the authors wasn't that good, but that was basically her only role.
One other flaw that I would have for the film (Aside from an EXTREMELY UNNECESSARY AND POINTLESS scene involving a guy who almost ignored a phone call and jeopardized more lives by not issuing a Tornado watch and the Animal Violence) is the ending. It's tough to have a real ending in any disaster film because we can't exactly "fix" the Earth. Whatever effects have happened will not be corrected in a short time and they will be felt more many years. That being said, the ending was very abrupt and basically if you lived in America you're doomed. America's been evacuated and now we have to live in Mexico. For the people who are not rich .they're doomed. Also, there just isn't going to be enough room for all of the Americans so it's essentially the beginning of the end. When you really think about it, Humanity is down for the count.
In Disaster films, my favorite parts are always the set up (Meeting each of the characters and getting ready for them to join up to survive the upcoming threat) and the beginning of the onslaught. When the disaster first strikes, it's cool to see everyone's reactions and what they plan to do about it. Things usually get more slow paced from there and this film is no exception, but it's not incredibly dragged out. The film is still enjoyable in the later stages, but as per usual, I enjoyed the first half of the film a lot more. The best destruction scene would definitely be the Wave of Water that attacked NYC. It was a pretty good batch of special effects and it reminded me of a recent Avengers episode. (A villain flooded NYC, but surprisingly there wasn't any property damage and they dried off the buildings while not letting anyone die before dinner. Pretty impressive and COMPLETELY believable)
Overall, this was a pretty fun film. It's probably not meant to be "fun", but that's what happened in the long run. There are a lot less fatalities than you would expect and NEARLY all of the big characters survive. (You do feel bad for the dozens of people who ran out into the freezing snow without a set destination in mind and not bringing along any food or utilities, but they must've had a great plan if they left the comfort of the Library for that. The cop did do a good job of taking charge and completely blowing Sam away in the verbal debate. At least 90% of the people went with him, which shows who has the better debating skills) It may not have a great amount of replay value, but it still has a decent amount, considering the (disaster) genre. I recommend watching the film if you like to see Apocalypse/End of The Earth scenarios and also view how the Government acts upon the knowledge. The character roster is decently good and Jack is a solid protagonist. The film is solid on just about all accounts so you can still watch it just to see the dialogue and the special effects. This is also a good film to prepare you for the upcoming Godzilla film, which will feature a Lot of devastation!