Brilliant special effects are blighted by bland characters in The Day After Tomorrow, a join-the-dots disaster movie from Independence Day director Roland Emmerich. The gist is this: a new ice age is coming and only weather whiz Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) has twigged it. But soon enough, everyone knows: Los Angeles is blown away by a superstorm, New York troubled by a tidal wave, and even the government is forced to admit that, well, it is getting a bit chilly. The carnage makes for great eye candy. It's just a shame there's no one to care about.
Quaid goes through the motions, saddled with the stereotype of Obsessed Professional, while Jake Gyllenhaal does what he can as his teenage child, stuck in the ice-packed Big Apple. But neither actor looks very convinced, perhaps aware of how absurd their story is (the world is freezing to death and Quaid decides to go for a stroll after his son).
"IN TERMS OF SPECTACLE, TOMORROW DELIVERS"
This wouldn't matter so much if the script wasn't so po-faced and the supporting characters so forgettable. Virtually no one has a personality. There are a couple of good gags (two librarians argue over the merits of Nietzsche when deciding which books to burn to stay alive), but there are none of the gritty subplots which powered the likes of The Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure (both bloated pictures, to be sure, but enlivened by camp and wit).
Of course all of these gripes are so much blah-de-blah if you really love disaster movies. Because in terms of spectacle, Tomorrow delivers. When tornadoes rip through the City Of Angels and the Statue Of Liberty becomes an ice queen, the effects are as convincing as computers have yet got. There are enough jaw-to-floor moments to merit a goggle. Just not enough soul to be worth a rewatch.