Recommended mostly for the Special Effects. Standard disaster movie fare. A pretty good subplot of a father and son loving relationship between the lead characters, Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. Good self sacrifice ethics. The mother/wife of the lead characters stays at a hospital with a terminally ill boy at the risk of her life — great anti-euthanasia ethic. A friend cuts himself loose from a hanging rope to save the other guys from dying with him. Jake going back to rescue the girl at risk to his life a couple times. You know, that’s what really makes a good disaster movie are precisely the self sacrificial acts of heroism. And that makes a movie like this good on a mythological level for reinforcing the kind of values that civilization is built upon.
I gotta say though that the idea that this movie is somehow a “warning” to our exploitation of natural resources is really rather laughable. Although I believe in responsible stewardship of the earth’s recources, there is really no evidence that man can do the kind of damage that extreme environmentalists claim. In the beginning of the story it is explained that the same thing is happening now that happened 10,000 years ago, with global climate change. The ice caps are melting causing worldwide distruptions, etc. etc. And then at the end of the movie, the US President says on a speech that if we aren’t more careful with our resource consumption, we’ll destroy ourselves. Well, let’s see, which industrial smoke stacks, SUVs and aerosal sprays brought on the previous Ice Age 10,000 years ago? HUH?? They undercut their own message with a non-sequitir. In the movie itself, they illustrated that global climate change has nothing to do with Man. It’s part of the natural processes. Volcanos destroy more ozone in one eruption than 100 years of man’s industrial activity. Ex-radical environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg wrote a massive documented tome, The Skeptical Environmentalist, systematically dismantling the fear claims of pollution, chemicals, greenhouse effect etc. There just is no such extreme danger. There is a moment in the film when the President of the US says, “How come nobody told us about this, where are the scientific facts?” The scientist says, “We did, but you didn’t listen to our science.” People in the audience laughed. The fact is, if we had listened to all these other fanatical junk science claims over the years, we’d be bankrupted. If only we’d listened to the population bomb experts that told us the 30 years ago that the earth would be uninhabitable right now because of population explosion and the 1980s AIDS scaremongers who said one half the population would have AIDS right now. Junk science may make for good movies, but not for real science.