A New Ice Age?

The movie The Day After Tomorrow shows us what can happen when extreme climate changes occur to the earth. The very beginning of the movie begins with an aerial shot of what appears of be the ocean and ice. The viewer of the movie is looking down into the water and ice while the opening credits are displayed parallel to the water. The shot gradually turns upwards in order for the viewer to see the glaciers coming up from the water. The opening credits change with the crane shot as well, with the credits now being vertical to match the new camera angle. From the very opening scene, the viewer gets the idea that the movie will have something to do with the ice and/or the ocean.

After the opening credits, the movie changes to a scene with one of the main characters, Jack, and his partners Frank and Jason in Antarctica. While collecting data, there is a giant shelf of ice that breaks off from where the men are working. The viewer sees cracks occurring, but Jason is the first to actually hear the cracked ice. The camera shows a close up of his face as he stops to listen to the sound of breaking ice and then zooms out to show the ice breaking all around him. While Jack tries to save some of their data he falls into the cracked portion of the ice and Jason and Frank have to save him. After collecting this data Jack then gives a speech in New Delhi, India on climate change that may occur from a change in the Atlantic current due to ocean global warming. Global warming is causing the fresh water glaciers to melt into the Atlantic Ocean, which is leading to a critical desalination point. His message is ignored for the most part until bizarre weather starts taking place all over the world. The movie shows several different scenes depicting the climate changes, such as the falling of snow in New Delhi, giant ice chunks hailing down in Tokyo, multiple tornados destroying large portions Las Angeles (including the famous Hollywood sign), and airplanes being brought down by turbulence in the Midwest part of the United States.

As Jack and other fellow scientists do more research, they come to the realization that the cold temperatures from the Antarctic are moving towards civilization and are combining with cool air from the troposphere, which is descending too quickly to warm, thus creating several global storms. These storms appear to be similar looking to hurricanes, except all over landmasses. The movie repeatedly shows the earth from the view of astronauts in space as the storm covers more and more of the earth, eventually making all landmasses invisible. The rest of the movie portrays the tale of survival for Jack and his family, along with the rest of the world. In a scene where the southern half of the United States is evacuated to Mexico, another aerial shot shows U.S. citizens illegally crossing the river into Mexico after the border is closed. People are desperate to survive and this is shown to great detail. There are even small amounts of a love story thrown into the mix, which pulls the viewer into other aspects of the movie besides the terrible destruction and deaths of many, many people.

In the end, the storm gradually starts to clear up and the astronauts are able to start seeing land again. Jack is able to save his son Sam who was trapped in New York and many other survivors are found. The movie ends with a final scene of the earth, as the astronauts say they have never seen air quite so clear. The sound track played at the opening scene is then replayed at the end, wrapping the movie up.

Although the movie may be a bit dramatic in how global warming may change the climate of our earth, it does teach a good lessen. We need to watch what we do with our resources and control how we use them. Things such as a new ice age occurring from our use of greenhouse gases may seem far-fetched, but over a larger time span (maybe not quite as short as 7-10 days) something similar to this could happen.

Amanda

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