Spoilers: Day After Tomorrow

There’s a few scenes I want to discuss in more detail. For a non-spoiler review, see the previous entry.

The scene that keeps echoing in my head the most is between two characters who I think are never named, though they fill out the contingent of survivors cowering in the library. There’s a blond girl, probably a high school girl, and a middle-aged man who I think works at the library. He’s holding a large book. She observes that he seems awfully protective of it (they’ve been burning books for heat).

He says, “This is a Gutenberg Bible. I found it in the rare books room. I’m protecting it.”

She says, sneering a bit, “Do you think God will save you?”

He says, “No. I don’t believe in God.”

She looks confused. He says, “This is the first book ever printed.” He goes on to explain that he believes that printing and the written word is the foundation of civilization, and if the rest of civilization is being destroyed– meaningful look around the room– he’s damn well saving this part of it.

It’s a fantastic moment. I wish the whole movie had been like that. At the end of the movie, when they’re being helicoptored out of NY, he’s still holding the book.

The scene I hated most was the wolves. A sudden pressing need for antibiotics emerges, and they’re venturing out to a nearby location to look in the first aid office. It’s right before the eye of the storm hits, and in a superstorm, that’s bad. Plenty of tension right there: they have to get the medicine NOW, they can’t wait until the eye passes, or she’ll die. Oh, and the first aid room is locked, so they have to climb around outside of windows to get in.

Also, some wolves escaped from the zoo, and have been roaming the streets, unable to bring themselves to eat all the corpses that have died of hypothermia, or cats, or dogs, or rats, and did we mention it’s only been three days or so, if that long, and why didn’t they go back the zoo where they know they can get fed and be safe? Oh yeah, they’re nasty wolves, the right hand of Mother Nature’s vengeance. I forgot.

So, anyhow, the wolves pick up the scent of our heroes and hunt them down while they’re getting medication, and do a passable imitation of velociraptors or zombies as they hurl themselves repeatedly at doors, hard enough to splat their heads when the door is slammed just in time.

These are small wolves. Reasonably good CGI, but small wolves. The heroes have access to a fire hatchet. They’re wolves. Starving wolves will attack humans, sure. They’re damn well not going to attack humans who prove themselves well capable of defending themselves. There’s trash to eat, there’s corpses, there’s plenty of food.

It made me furious that a movie with an environmental message would choose to perpetuate the ‘wolves are monsters’ idea. It was a HORRIBLE scene. It was useless as a tension-raising tool. It made it feel like a monster/horror flick rather than a disaster flick. They could have concentrated on the hero clambering around on external metal poles with only one glove if they wanted tension I would care about. Instead, wolves.

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