This was one of those movies that I started out entirely hating and wound up completely surrendering to. It’s easy to hate – lines like, “What are the odds of two buoys malfunctioning?” and “That not months, it’s weeks…” couldn’t help but cause chuckles. The movie’s problem – if it’s a problem – is that it’s way too heavy-handed in getting its point across. Every character that’s meant to be “typically stupid” (politicians etc..) are maddeningly so; and the smart ones vice versa.
But this is a scary concept that was going to become a movie one day, and we’re not talking Twister. For the second time this year we see a person frozen to death on screen (Christian Slater, Mindhunters… shudder) and I’ve decided there is nothing on earth that freaks me out more than this. The visual effects are pretty incredible. I don’t know if they’re true to life; if they are, then we are so screwed when all this finally happens.
I read an interesting review that pointed out how Roland Emmerich has completely turned around in his outlook since Independence Day – in that ID4 was such a patriotic movie, whereas this movie latches fully onto the prevailing anti-White-House gibes of the moment.
The cast is a good one, when they have good lines (some are of the almost parody-like disaster movie standard). Jake Gyllenhaal is an interesting leading man outside of Donnie Darko (this is the first thing I’ve seen him in since that). I think he’s probably the most unusual looking leading man since Humphrey Bogart. But that’s just me.
The ending is strange. I don’t know if there’s meant to be some kind of irony there, or if they just screwed it up. Personally, I like the irony that the new President is back on TV so fast draining god knows what power sources, and the New York skyline is full of helicopters, and there’s army trucks pumping pollutants out rescuing people etc. I don’t know if it was intended, but I completely imagine this would be the reality. We’d all be like humbled by such a devastating world event etc, but then we’d be like, oh well, back to the drawing board, let’s start f**king the place up again!
Update I’m really just bumping this review up to the top since I watched it again on DVD today, but all the above still stands and all I have to add is that I moved it way down on my top movies of 2004 list