Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie review

Put this plot back on ice

Published May 31, 2004

[Twentieth Century Fox]
The Statue of Liberty and New York city chill in the wake of a catastrophic climatic shift in a scene from The Day After Tomorrow.

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

The Day After Tomorrow

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) is a climatologist in Washington, D.C., who has developed a theory about global warming, the changing North Atlantic currents and the devastating effects these changes will have on the planet. The theory is widely disregarded, but when his predictions start to come true, the world is in imminent danger. The Northern Hemisphere faces another ice age, and nothing can be done to stop it. Jack is trying to reach his teenage son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is in New York City, to take him far enough south to survive.

My View: Cliched? Implausible? Predictable? Overdramatic? Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, all apply to this film. A mold for disaster films was made in the '70s with The Towering Inferno and Earthquake. Every disaster film since has followed the formula, which has proven successful time and again: An impending disaster is predicted by a few savvy experts, who are always among the survivors, although one good guy dies every time. Writer-director Roland Emmerich used that formula in his 1996 film Independence Day, and he has used it in this one. This effort left me with a tremendous sense of dejavu. I couldn't help but laugh my way through scenes that were not intended to be funny. The effects are very contrived, and the acting is just a little too cliched. This film is no better or worse than any of its predecessors, but that doesn't change the complete and total annihilation of the Earth getting old quickly. And this film was about 30 minutes too long.

Recommendations: A huge population of people finds disaster movies the ultimate movie-going experience. If you are one of those people, have at it; you'll be on the edge of your seat the entire time. Otherwise, I recommend you satiate your appetite for an entertaining movie with Shrek 2.

Grade: C-

- Billy Norris, 16, is in 11th grade at Seminole High and is a former member of the X-Team.

[Last modified May 28, 2004, 12:31:39]

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