Time: 124 mins.
SYNOPSIS: A climatologist tries to figure out a way to save the world from abrupt global warming. He must get to his young son in New York, which is being taken over by a new ice age.
BOTTOM LINE: With all the wild and weird weather patterns the world has been experiencing in the last few years, it's kind of hard to laugh at the violent theatrics presented in this film...but eventually you will. While the basis for their theory on global warming is probably more likely than we want to admit, the world freezing over in a matter of days is more than unlikely. However, waiting for it to happen over several months wouldn't be very exciting for the audience, so thus the speed up. Quaid plays the scientist/hero who must not only save the world, but his estranged son, played by Gyllenhaal. Their relationship is supposed to give the film it's heart and drive – Quaid traverses across the frigid landscape of the Eastern seaboard to rescue the boy in New York – which it sort of accomplishes since they're the main characters and have the most screen time. Unfortunately, their roles are so one note you never really end up caring all that much about their inevitible reunion.
What most people are paying to see is one disaster after another and on that front the film delivers albeit in a fairly cheesy way. As entertaining as it is to see twisters ripping apart Los Angeles (why use one when a dozen would clearly be better?) and New York submerged under water, these effects lack much punch since we've seen this kind of thing done before (ID4, A.I.) and much better. In the end, the most powerful aspect of this film is the potential it has for coming true. Sure, Quaid and his cronies appear to be a little crazy at the beginning, but you can't help but feel a twinge of misapprehension towards the end in light of recent world events, which make this film a little harder to swallow for vastly different reasons.
Ultimately, it's the underdeveloped plot that keeps this from being more than just an effects flick. Apparently, audiences don't need a good story, or characters, if there's a lot of destruction involved. The actors try, but they're really given nothing to work with except a green screen and corny one-liners. DAY isn't a film I would rush out to see, but it's not a complete waste of time either, especially if you like the actors or the genre. It's not as fun as TWISTER, yet not as unwatchable as EARTHQUAKE.