This is the first true "disaster" movie made since the events of September 11, 2001, and it shows. There's a scene, somewhat late into the film, where Dennis Quaid's quasi-heroic Jack Hall is asked what will become of civilization, now that the world's been mostly destroyed. Quaid sums up the lot of humanity by smugly suggesting that we can all make it through the terror, as long as we have a peppy attitude. Is this what George Bush and Dick Cheney want us to think during their "war on terrorism"? All we gotta do is band together and our enemies shall be vanquished, whether it be the storm of the century or Osama Bin Laden! God bless America and everything is just peachy fucking keen!?
If you watch, while New York is flooded by gigantic waves and the entire skyline is frozen to it's core, you should take notice to the fact that not one building topples. Not one building collapses to remind us of 9/11. All of L.A. is destroyed by dozens of freak tornadoes, but New York stays standing. Always waving it's mighty flag. It's like a disaster movie that's so afraid of being thought of as too un-P.C., that it doesn't go as far as it should. In the end, although many die (but only a scant few of the main cast) we will survive. I half expected Gloria Gaynor to belt out her signature song as the credits began to roll.
Maybe I am being a bit to hard on this film. After all, visually it IS striking. The wall of water that drowns New York is amazing looking (and felling if you're lucky enough to be in a theatre with digital surround sound). A British Air Force pilot being instantly frozen solid is a CGI masterpiece. The scenes of Americans trying desperately to flee to the "safety" of Mexico at any cost is a hilarious diatribe on modern societal politics. But then again, the sappy puppy-dogged eyes of the film's message: We will all come together in peace and harmony in the end, is just a little to vomit-inducing for us to take.
Near the finale, the Vice-President (a dead-ringer for ole Dick Cheney) who, at first played the typical Republican poacher/nay-sayer, makes a complete turn-around, after the President is frozen to pieces and goes on television to spout harmony and unity with our new host, Mexico. He now praises that we can all get along. A nice message, but it's so unbelievable that, instead of being broadcast on Fox News, as every previous newscast in this 20th Century Fox-financed film had been, it's instead played on the Weather Channel. This idea of unity is so off-the-wall that the right-winged Fox Broadcast Network won't even dare to air it.
Let's face it: there are three possible outcomes here for a "sequal" set about 100 years in the future. Number 1, and the least likeliest, is that the US and Mexico now live together in perfect harmony. A nice pipe dream, but... Number two (equally as unlikely) is that Mexico will now become our masters and we will become oppressed people. A suitable ending for this power-hungry nation to get its come-uppins. And number three (the inevitable outcome) is that the good ole USofA now commands all of Latin America with an iron fist and thousands of armed troops. Maybe I'm bitter and/or jaded, but hey... [06/08/04]