The Day After Tomorrow


R. Emmerich


R. Emmerich and M. Gordon




20th Century Fox



Running time:

124 min


Disaster film




DVD, Blu-Ray


environmental science, professor, research, global warming, paleoclimatologist, paleoclimatology, climate change, Action hero
When paleoclimatology professor and his research team Jack Hall discover that the Larsen Ice Shelf has pretty much melted away, he heads to a United Nations conference on climate change with the warning that not only is global warming real, but that its catastrophic results may have already begun. Unfortunately, the assembled diplomats and politicians are too much in the thrall of corporate power and political self-interest to pay Hall any heed, including the US Vice-President, who reminds the good professor that the economy is fragile too, and admonishes him to stop making such "sensationalist claims." However, ProfessorTerry Rapson, of the Hedland Climate Research Centre in Scotland, is among those who do take Hall's work seriously, and when he notices a massive temperature drop in the North Atlantic, he teams up with Jack, his research team, and NASA meteorologist Janet Tokada. With their combined data they are able to build a forecast model, but by then planes are already falling out of the sky, and the film has moved into full disaster mode.
Teaching Notes
Portrayal of Professors
Like most disaster films, the professors are required to be both village explainers of whatever phenomena is currently wreaking havoc, as well as action-heroes, whose academic credentials help convince audiences they have the scientific know-how to save the day. Or, as in the case of this film, to give it the old college try.

Portrayal of scientific knowledge
Unlike most disaster films, The Day after Tomorrow was based on scientific fact and drew attention to a serious environmental issue, for which it was praised by various scientists and environmental groups. However, the often ridiculous was the film depicted various global warming phenomena — including portraying climactic events (such as New York becoming an ice cube overnight) as taking place during a matter of hours instead of possibly many decades — resulted in as much, if not more, criticism for being scientifically inaccurate (Duke University, 2004). In Hollywood, generic structure and entertainment value must always come before the mundane — why go to a film otherwise — which is important to remember when using a popular film as a curricular resource.
film poster
Academic Cassandra — Professor Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid)