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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow

I watched this on DVD over the weekend. I have to say I rather liked it, but that is because I like disaster movies, and it was a good disaster movie. As a political film, which I know it was touted as, it sucks, because of a major failure of logic which I will get to in a moment.

First off this was quite a clever film. Several things are nicely set-up in the first half to have relevance in the second, and not in a heavy-handed fashion as if often the case. Second, there is a nice sense of build-up to the "main event" as it were. I think it was perhaps a little rushed - the destruction of LA by multiple Twisters is spectacular, but ruins the build-up elsewhere. The New York sequences are far better - starting with a plane flying through a storm, to lots of rain, to streets flooding because of the rain, and so on. It builds, and builds well. There is a nice touch early on when lots of birds are flying inland. This leads up to the "main event" - the wave that floods New York. The cinematography of that is very nice. To be honest that was really the sequence I rented the DVD for, and I think it was worth it. The rest of the disaster stuff was pretty good too.

The prologue bit out in Antactica was silly. I know why films have these little bits of drama before anything has started, but I just end up chuckling to myself at the silliness. On the flip side there was some nice emotional moments. Particularly the 3 British scientists up in Scotland.

And yes! The scene in the British helicopters didn't sound like some strange aliens. In Independence Day there is that little scene of 3 British officers somewhere in the desert, and they speak like they've come out of the 1850s. It was so stereotypiaclly bad it really riled by feeling towards the entire film. Well, this time the people sounded normal! Congrats to the director, who in the years since Independence Day has at least worked out how not to murder a British accent (NB it's still somewhat silly, but realistically silly - the Man U guy in Scotland was pretty amusing).

Now as to the science, and the politics. As I understand it this film was at least partly an attack on Dick Cheney, and presumably through him the GOP in general (the big business part of it anyway). The completely unsutble suggestion was that if only this fictional president had signed up to Kyoto it wouldn't have happened. The huge major fallacy with that proposition - so huge you could steer a leaky supertanker through - is that whatever effect Kyotot may or may not have, even with 100% global compliance, it would not have had any time to alter anything in the fictional timeframe of the movie. And then there is the whole problem that the world has been warming up since before major industrialisation, since the end of the Little Ice Age, and nowhere have I read a credible argument that the current warminng trend is not at least partly, or mostly, related to that natural process.

However, I didn't watch this film because of the politics. I watched it to see New York get flooded, and then frozen. And for seeing that, this was the film to watch.

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