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Watching The Crowd, Watching “The Day After Tomorrow”

Watching The Crowd, Watching "The Day After Tomorrow"

day.jpgWhile many Republicans (specifically those working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave) will no doubt reject Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”, many in the White House will also have trouble with the upcoming big-budget Hollywood film, “The Day After Tomorrow.”

In the film (which I saw along with 1,100 other people at the Ziegfeld last night) a befuddled President and a cantankerous Vice-President fail to heed environmental warnings about global warming, leading to a catastrophic weather disaster. Once the mega-storm hits, the administration bungles its initial response to the tragedy and is forced to apologize once tens of millions of Americans have been killed.

Former VP Al Gore and other Democrats have embraced the movie for its environmental message, but when it opens tomorrow the movie will draw crowds primarily for its big-budget special effects. During the screening, the audience (mostly younger folks drawn to the theater by a local radio station promotion), cheered some of the film’s better effects and burst into groans, laughter and then applause at the movie’s portrayal of a disconnected, unresponsive, confused president. “That guy looks just like Bush,” one guy behind me told the friend next to him. “He’s a dumbass,” the friend responded. The crowd howled and hissed when the movie’s uptight VP appeard on screen, some calling him “Cheney.” Later when a top goverment official died in the storm, some of the crowd cheered.

As for the film itself, I found myself entertained and laughing throughout the movie, perhaps sometimes at the wrong moments. (Its important to note that I also loved what I saw of the recent distater mini-series “10.5”). This film’s effects are mostly excellent, its destruction scenes top notch, and the human drama of a climatologist (Dennis Quaid) heading into the storm and then walking for miles to search for his teenaged son (Jake Gyllenhaal) utterly laughable.

Walking out of the theater, I heard one woman call the film, “The worst movie ever” to which her friend responded, “Hey, it was free.” While another kid told his buddy, “Why do they make the effects so believable and the characters so unbelievable?” Another guy said it was better than “Independence Day,” I think i disagree, but it was certainly better than director Emmerich’s 1998 version of “Godzilla.”

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