Will there be a Day After Tomorrow?

Movie Review

“‘The Day After Tomorrow’ has one of the most absurd and implausible plot turns I’ve seen in a movie, ever,” writes David Edelstein in his review for Slate magazine. “Global warming melts the polar ice caps, which makes the oceans rise and disrupts the Gulf Stream ... and after New York City is flooded by seawater, the temperature plunges at a rate of 10 degrees per second, so that people are transformed into ice statues where they stand ... Now here’s the implausible part. The vice president – closely modeled on Dick Cheney – who has pooh-poohed all evidence of global warming, goes on TV and says, ‘I was wrong.’”

While “The Day After Tomorrow” might be just another cheesy disaster film, it’s one with an anti-Bush message that is all too real. Global warming is a fact and its impact can be seen now. Some scientists have linked the extreme weather the world has been experiencing recently – from devastating floods in Central America to the incredibly high number of tornadoes in this country – to the long-term problem we face.

“‘The Day After Tomorrow’ uses wild dramatic license and special effects to dramatize a very real problem. Global warming isn’t just something happening in movie theatres. It’s happening all around us, and will keep happening until we get greenhouse gas pollution under control,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense. Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 400,000 members.

The danger, of course, is that the movie’s plot, with helicopters freezing in midair, is so ridiculous that no one will take the threat seriously. Scientists from the University of Washington, who saw the film with a Seattle Times reporter, laughed at the absurdity of many of the scenes. Nevertheless, they agree that climate change is real and will distort the planet as we know it.

For scientists, abrupt climate change usually means over a few decades, not a full-blown ice age within just a few days.

“This movie distorts global warming, obviously,” Maureen Drouin, northeast regional representative of the Sierra Club, told the Associated Press. “It’s a disaster movie. But we also feel that the Bush administration is distorting the science on global warming.”

“‘The Day After Tomorrow’ exaggerates the impacts of global warming, but it’s no exaggeration to say that global warming is happening now,” said Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense science advisor and a Princeton professor, “and that our children and grandchildren will have to live with the consequences.”

— Carolyn Rummel