After the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Director Roland Emmerich suddenly found that the market for disaster porn films such as Independence Day and Godzilla no longer existed. A staple genre of cinema since the 70's from directors such as Irwin Allen, and one which saw a resurgence in the mid 1990's, audiences no longer felt comfortable with cinema experiences that were anything like the reality that had been witnessed and the ramifications that the attacks brought to everyday citizens.
However, Roland Emmerich, the smart fellow he is, pitched his next film as a cautionary tale of the threat posed by global warming, which tapped into growing worldwide sentiments regarding the issue (which have all but been put on hold, post global financial crisis - unless of course you live in Australia). This way, he could still sate his desire for cutting edge global destruction and audiences didn't have to feel so bad. Win, win.
Paleoclimatologist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) and his team are drilling for ice cores on the Larsen Ice Shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula when the shelf gives way, releasing millions of tones of ice into the Pacific Ocean. When Jacks attempts to alert authorities of his theories, including a climactic drop in ocean temperatures falls on deaf ears, his fears are realized when freak weather incidents, including tornadoes in Los Angeles, hailstorms in Tokyo and turbulence closes airports worldwide are joined by a massive tsunami of water which is headed for New York City.
As far as cinema goes, The Day After Tomorrow is an entertaining enough time with enough human drama to up the ante, but as far as a cautionary tale of coming climate woes, I think it is reaching just that little bit too far, whipping up warmists worldwide with a scary piece of propaganda.
The Day After Tomorrow is presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with the AVC codec.
In the eight years between Independence Day and this film, the production pipeline had changed significantly - with far less reliance on optical and model effects, and far more on computer graphics. This gives The Day After Tomorrow a slicker and richer visual design, but one that is inherently faker. Speaking of which, the higher resolution makes the computer generated wolves look even worse than they did on DVD.
There is a lot of fine detail in every shot and with a nice colour balance that accentuates blue hues, in a very James Cameron esque way.
Despite being one of the earlier Blu-ray releases from Fox, The Day After Tomorrow still holds up very well.
The Day After Tomorrow is presented in DTS HD Master Audio, encoded at 24 bits.
Make no mistake; this is reference quality material all the way - just as Emmerich is completely unsubtle as a director, so too is the case with his audio mixes. From the get go, it's clear this is going to be a rather aggressive audio mix and when the wave hits New York city every channel booms to life - not least the subwoofer.
Despite the activeness of the front and rear sound stage, there is no problem with audio intelligibility.
The score, provided by co-writer and co-producer Harold Kloser is quite good and a bit of a change of the previous Emmerich go-to musician David Arnold. His score is mixed well into the wider soundstage.
Overall, an extremely pleasing experience.
Unfortunately, Twentieth Century Fox has failed to port over all of the extra that were to be found on the impressive special edition DVD release from 2004, so fans will want to hang on to the second disc from the set to retain everything. Let's take a look at what they did include.
First up are two Audio Commentaries, the first provided by Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Mark Gordon. Emmerich is throughout the professional German, and much of his commentary is quite dry in nature. However, Mark Gordon is a riot (although a little more restrained than the commentary he provided for Speed). It's a reasonably enjoyable listen if you have a bunch of hours to burn. The second track, provided by co-writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff, Cinematographer Ueli Steiger, Editor David Brenner and Production Designer Barry Chusid is a cozy group affair. It's nice to get some of the lesser credited staff a go at the microphone, however you are going to have to be a big fan to get through this one.
Next up are 10 Deleted Scenes, totaling approximately 16 minutes in length. Most scenes are relatively superfluous, but the Hurricane Hunter snippet is worth a look. Unfortunately these are presented in standard definition only.
Finally, we have the Original Theatrical Trailer and Teaser Trailer.