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The Day After Tomorrow Review (Blu-ray)

Global Warming is becoming a major issue in modern society, with the Government releasing advertising campaigns to help make the public realise the detrimental effect everyday activities are having on our planet. Everything from television adverts telling us to switch our TV’s off standby to the mystery voice on the radio reminding us to turn off the light everytime we leave the room have become an everyday occurrence. Climatologists and Scientists strongly believe that our wasteful usage of electricity and fossil fuels is changing the planets exterior with no reversible effect. Roland Emmerich decided to take advantage of such an intriguing issue in 2004 by directing The Day After Tomorrow, an epic blockbuster which shows the threatening prospect of a new Ice Age arriving.

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The film begins with Climatologist Dr. Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) drilling ice cores in Antarctica when a piece on the Antarctic shelf breaks off, nearly bringing Jack and his colleagues to their death. This event makes the Doctor realise how serious an issue global warming is becoming and sparks Jack in to action as he attempts to warn the rest of the world what is upon them; a new Ice Age! To their demise, the public refuses to believe that such drastic weather changes could occur in such a short period of time. However, strange and unseen before events happen in the following weeks which convince the President of America that the country is in serious trouble and that they need to evacuate the southern states immediately.

Queue the films array of incredible special effects. The Day After Tomorrow has some of, if not the best CGI effects I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. These effects help make the audience believe New York City is actually experiencing the disastrous weather changes. Each special effect looks extremely realistic, whether it be tornadoes ripping through Los Angeles, tidal waves engulfing New York City or gigantic hailstones crashing down in Japan. Seeing New York City covered in treacherous ice is a scary sight, and strikes home what could actually occur in the future.

As America flees its borders to Mexico in an attempt to bypass and survive the oncoming weather effects, the brave Jack Hall does the complete opposite as he travels from Washington D.C to New York City in order to save his son Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal). Jack receives news that his son Sam is trapped in the Manhattan Public Library after visiting New York for a science convention and therefore courageously battles Mother Nature to reach and protect Sam. The journey isn’t a smooth one however, with Jack and his colleagues facing many difficult events along the way.

A love story is cleverly mixed in amongst the action and suspense of the climate change. Jack’s son Sam has feelings for another student attending the school trip to the science convention and must battle his emotions, trying to cook up the courage to tell his love Laura (Emmy Rossum) his true feelings. The audience will likely grow feelings for Sam as the movie progresses as he puts Laura before himself whilst attempting to make sure she survives the global warming effects.

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Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal and Emmy Rossum all put in solid and meaningful acting performances. You can see the pain in Jake’s eyes as he sees the love of his life flirting with other guys. Dennis Quaid as Jack Hall really makes you believe he will do anything to see his son again, with a heart-warming performance which will win him many fans for future films. The other cast all do a good job aswell and made me feel as if they were in the middle of these planet-changing events. Lasting 118 minutes, the film is perfectly paced and never gets boring, with the perfect mix of action, suspense and love on display. For special effects, action and suspense fans, The Day After Tomorrow is a must see.

The Picture:
The special effects throughout the film fit perfectly on Blu-ray, with everyone seeming incredibly detailed. You will get the three-dimensional feel whilst watching the film and believe real life tornadoes and whizzing around your living room. No detail is left out at all, with every blade of ice, splash of water and frightening hailstone all looking extremely life-like. The outstanding picture stays consistently good throughout the film, whether it be a Tsunami wave striding proud above New York or a dark scene set inside the Manhattan Public library. The Day After Tomorrow is without doubt one of the best pictures I have seen on Blu-ray; you won’t be disappointed.

Audio:
With 5.1 DTS HD master Audio surround sound, The Day After Tomorrow sounds spectacular. All five speakers of your surround sound system will be put to good use. I could really hear a tornado whistling around behind my ears, making me feel like I was in the heart of New York City and getting attacked by the weather. Harald Kloser has done a brilliant job with the music, creating the perfect atmosphere for each scene.

Special Features:
You are able to re-watch the whole film whilst listening to commentary from Director Roland Emmerich and Producer Mark Gordon. This is actually a very entertaining listen, with both figures being very verbal and giving their views to the audience. You’ll learn interesting facts about the film, such as the scene set in India was actually filmed in Montreal! Emmerich and Gordon explain thoroughly how the special effects were done and what tweaks were made, along with their thoughts about members of the cast. I must warn you though, if you are strongly against swearing and bad language, you might want to avoid this feature due to a few swear words being present. I must admit I’m not a fan of special features on DVDs, but I enjoyed listening to the commentary whilst watching The Day After Tomorrow.

A personal scene selection feature has been included which allows you to line up your favourite scenes and watch them one after the other, without having to view the other scenes in-between. This could be a useful feature to those who just want to view the special effects, but I personally wouldn’t use the feature myself. Nonetheless, I’m sure some viewers will welcome it with open arms.

10 deleted scenes are available to watch, with the added bonus of commentary again from Director Emmerich and Producer Gordon. I found hearing why certain scenes were cut and not included to be a good listen and one well worth sitting through.

Possibly the best feature on this Blu-ray disc is the Global Warming Interactive Game. Throughout the movie, 50 multi-choice questions pop up on the screen with 3 possible answers. Each question is relevant to the issue of the film; global warming. An example would be “What do Weather Buoy’s measure?” If you answer a question correctly, a small fact will appear giving you further detail on the question which is a terrific feature and helps educate you as you watch the film. My only concern with this feature is if you answer a question incorrectly, it will not tell you the correct answer. This could be due to not wanting to spoil the answers if you use the feature again, but it would have been nice to learn the answer there and then.

The game tries to put pressure on the player by introducing a “temperature system” so to speak. If you answer a question correctly, a temperature gauge on the left hand side of the screen will rise by 1 degree; with the gauge lowering by 2 degrees everytime you fail to answer a question correctly. Another nice feature of the game is that it gives you the ability to either relax and answer the questions as they appear throughout the film, or just skip to the next question if you’re in the mood for the quiz.

Summary:
The Day After Tomorrow is a story based on a new Ice Age arriving and hitting America with force. Packed full of action, suspense and even a touch of love, the film has it all and delivers with solid acting performances. Incredible special effects are regularly seen throughout the film which look terrific on Blu-ray and will be a treat for all Hollywood fans. Your surround sound system is sure to have a workout, and the respectable list of special features will allow you to enjoy the film for approximately 5 extra hours. Overall, The Day After Tomorrow is a thoroughly enjoyable movie which comes highly recommended.

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