Interview: The New Democrat
Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
Industrial: National Focus
History: A Class Act
International: Across the Ditch
Economics: Home Truths
Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
Poetry: Silent Note
The Locker Room
Last Year’s Model
No Time Like Tomorrow
Giant hailstones falling from the sky, supercool twisters turning people to frozen goods within the space of seconds, the Statue of Liberty surfing a freak tidal wave which then buries New York city up to its roof-tops in ice.
All this makes The Day After Tomorrow worth seeing if only for the rare spectacle of so many special effects in one place without an explosion in sight.
But director Roland Emmerich hopes the film will do more than just entertain.
Though his version of climate change effects are only lightly based on the truth, Emmerich hopes The Day After Tomorrow will make people think hard about their impact on the environment.
What his film has achieved is spark debate. It's true that sitting in the cinema looking through environmentalist's eyes, The Day After Tomorrow feels disappointingly like an opportunity lost.
There he is, climatologist Jack Hall (played by Dennis Quaid) addressing a climate change meeting in which he must convince the President of the United States to sign the Kyoto Protocol or live with the blood on his hands of future generations for the rest of his grimy greenhouse gas loving life.
Jack opens his mouth and what comes out is: "[email protected]%*O*O G*)%$&^%#^ b*&(%#@$" - utter gobbledegook which is not only as convoluted as might be expected from a real technocrat but worse is largely implausible.
The president yawns, scratches his bum, and dismisses the oracle wearily.
Meanwhile, here sits millions of audience members flocking to see a film about the human impact on climate change and the impact of climate change on them.
It represents an ideal opportunity to cut through the confusion without having to compromise on entertainment.
Okay, so most climate change phenomenon does not generally fit into movie-length segments.
But running all this together within the de rigour 20-minutes-to-midnight timeframe with the addition of some well-placed hyperbole would be acceptable to most seasoned moviegoers well used to suspending disbelief in this fashion.
What is harder to forgive is the failure to correctly explain how many of the cataclysms would actually occur and the failure to express how the entire ecosystem of the planet would be impacted by even mild climate change - not just humans and, you guessed it, not just Americans.
There were a few shots of Mexico (generously taking in American refugees) and Tokyo (being pounded by bricks of ice). But for the Australian outcome look to the cutting room floor or the 1950s classic On The Beach.
For the rest of the world, look to the research from more reputable sources that have been measuring the impacts of global warming for many years. Much readily available material also explains more succinctly how human beings contribute to this on a daily basis.
While there is still disagreement about how to measure the rate of climate change and how to place it in its historical perspective, the fact that it is occurring is well documented and widely accepted.
If seeing The Day After Tomorrow inspires people to track down and discuss this research, either out of disbelief or a genuine desire to learn what they can do, the director's desire has been achieved.
Yet as the hoards of viewers left the cinema where this reviewer saw the flick, the sheer volume of soft drink containers, pop corn, chips and chocolate bar wrappers suggested environmental concern was the last thing left on the audience's mind.
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