USA TODAY, January 15, 2004
'Day After Tomorrow' promises new kind of fireworks
The Day After Tomorrow is not Independence Day .
Considering that we're in the middle of January, that might not shock you. But we're talking movies here, and by the time The Day After Tomorrow is released for Memorial Day weekend, everyone will be comparing the two disaster movies. After all:
- Roland Emmerich directed both movies.
- Both films dramatize the destruction of internationally famous landmarks.
- Both are special-effects extravaganzas and, just as Independence Day did before it, The Day After Tomorrow is likely to redefine the disaster film.
- 20th Century Fox, the distributor of both films, is pushing the connection to the max.
But though movie fans have clamored for a sequel to Independence Day , this movie isn't it, Emmerich says.
In fact, after 9/11, such a movie became impossible, he believes.
"Blowing up buildings is an image you don't want to see anymore", Emmerich says, referring to Independence Day's famous White House explosion scene. "The movie is quite different from Independence Day , and I don't want to repeat myself, to be honest. I wanted to make the movie because the mood is so different than Independence Day . I sometimes think the comparison will only hurt it."
While aliens were the enemy in Independence Day , in The Day After Tomorrow , the enemy is us. "The film is a nightmare story not about what could happen but what will happen if global warming worsens and world leaders look the other way", Emmerich says.
And so, in The Day After Tomorrow , tornadoes rip apart Los Angeles; a snowstorm buries New Delhi; hail the size of grapefruit batters Tokyo; and in New York City, the temperature swings from sweltering to freezing in one day. Dennis Quaid plays a paleoclimatologist trying to save his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) from the new ice age.
"A catastrophe where nature is going wild has a totally different feel to it", Emmerich says. "I read a couple of books, and I said to myself, this could happen. You have to make it as entertaining as possible, but you still want to raise a warning flag."