Friday, May 28, 2004

The Day Before the Day After

The release of The Day After Tomorrow appears to be generating controversy. Seeing politicians and pundits seriously discuss the "issues" raised by a dopey disaster movie is hilarious but not unprecedented. Disaster movies, cheesy and stupid as they are, usually play off some kind of real-life fear that the audience has: the plane will crash, the ship will sink, the building will burn down. Which means that disaster movies always have a veneer of fake social consciousness; the filmmaker, Irwin Allen or whoever, would explain that he made this movie not only to make money but to call the world's attention to the serious dangers of bad construction or killer bees or Shelley Winters. The Swarm, the movie that killed the disaster genre, was actually sold as a serious examination of a real problem: there was some talk that the killer bees were on their way North, so the publicity was something like "They're more dangerous than Jaws... and they're real!" Whether Day After Tomorrow will turn out to be Roland Emmerich's The Swarm remains to be seen. I hope so, but in these days of automatically huge weekend openings, it's rare for a movie to be as big a flop as The Swarm was, even if nobody likes it.

Meanwhile, you can read Ken Begg's long dissection of The Swarm here, and another, more substance-influenced review, here.

Also, in the "stuff I'll never use" department, a year or so ago I set myself the task of trying to write the most depressing song lyric I possibly could, and I came up with something called... yes... "The Day After Tomorrow." But even if movies still used title songs, I don't think they'd go for this one [the tune, such as it was, had a lot of formulaic major/minor seesawing]:

There's a day after tomorrow,
There's a low after the high.
Tomorrow, they say,
Things will be A-okay,
I agree that they may,
But then you get another day.
And there's a crash after the boomlet,
There's a storm after the eye.
Tomorrow you can reach the moon if you try,
But soon you learn it's all a lie,
'Cause there's a day after tomorrow,
The day you kiss tomorrow goodbye.

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