The Day After Tomorrow appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The visuals lacked significant problems but didn’t excel.
Sharpness presented the only minor issues. Most of the movie came across as detailed and distinctive. However, some shots looked just a little soft, particularly during interiors. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, though, and the movie lacked edge haloes or any form of source defects.
With its preponderance of snow and ice, Day didn’t offer a very broad color scheme. Nonetheless, its hues came across smoothly. The film displayed its chilly bluish tint well, and the occasional brighter tones looked fine. Blacks were deep and firm, and low-light shots appeared appropriately dark but not too thick. Overall, this was a good transfer – it just never became a great one.
With all the violent weather elements, Day featured a myriad of exciting auditory situations, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix explored these enormously well. The first half of the flick offered the broadest range of information. Hailstorms, tornadoes, walls of water - the movie packed in a slew of dynamic and involving elements.
The track also handled the quieter sequences well, with audio that presented a natural sense of atmosphere. The mix used the spectrum to great effect, as it featured many bits and pieces from each of the five channels and meshed them together smoothly.
The mix didn’t disappoint when it came to audio quality. Speech always sounded concise and crisp, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. With all the effects, music got stuck in the background, but the score came across as bright and lively.
Those effects were the stars of the show. They sounded accurate, dynamic and vibrant. Highs seemed clear and lows appeared enormously deep and powerful. The entire thing packed a real wallop.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2005 Collector’s Edition DVD? Audio showed a bit more kick, while visuals seemed more precise and vivid. The Blu-ray gave us the standard step up in quality.
(Note that I thought the 2005 CE and the original 2004 DVD looked/sounded virtually identical, so comparisons between the Blu-ray and the first DVD match what I stated above.)
The Blu-ray includes some – but not nearly all – of the CE’s extras, and we get two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from *co-writer/director Roland Emmerich and producer Mark Gordon, both of whom sit together for a running, screen-specific chat.
As exemplified in the discussion that accompanies The Patriot, Emmerich can be extremely inarticulate. His prior pairings with producer Dean Devlin exacerbated this tendency; Devlin didn’t say a whole lot, so Emmerich was left with tons of space to fill. He did so in a less than concise manner.
Happily, matters improve substantially here. Unlike Devlin, Gordon proves lively and chatty, so Emmerich doesn’t get the chance to babble. They focus on a lot of technical elements and only occasionally delve into other issues.
We learn a lot about effects, sets, locations and logistics, though they provide a smattering of information about the cast, the script, and creative topics. For example, Emmerich tells us about the story’s origins and development as well as how 9/11 affected it.
Tons of happy talk shows up here, and the level of information generally seems slight. However, this becomes a very entertaining track thanks to the hyperactive presence of Gordon.
As with his Speed commentary, Gordon offers an irreverent presence and he’s not afraid to make fun of his own movie. He gleefully points out plot flaws and other mistakes, and he even mocks himself for all the praise he gushes.
Emmerich gets caught up in the energy, and this actually seems to focus him, as he proves more interesting than in the past. Will you learn much from this track? Probably not, but you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
For the second commentary, we receive notes from co-writer Jeffrey Nachmanoff, director of photography Ueli Steiger, editor David Brenner, and production designer Barry Chusid. It sounded like the men sat in pairs and recorded separate running, screen-specific commentaries that later got cut together. It appears that this split the participants into Steiger/Chusid and Nachmanoff/Brenner teams. The piece flowed smoothly nonetheless, as the editing made it work.
One can infer the topics of conversation via a scan of the men’s titles, as the subjects follow expected dimensions. We learn about modifications made to the original script, deleted sequences, altered pieces, and reworking some parts via editing. We get notes about the cinematography and the look of the film along with visual effects and those challenges.
Some of the more technical elements get a little dry at times, but usually the material remains interesting and useful. I especially like the discussions of rewrites and editing as they give us a solid feel for how much work goes on after the script is done. The whole package offers a good look at the nuts and bolts elements of making Day. It’s not quite as entertaining as the Gordon/Emmerich track, but it’s much more illuminating.
New to the Blu-ray, a trivia track accompanies the film. This offers info about climate-related topics and other scientific facts. I’d have preferred a mix of movie material as well, but the trivia track still adds some useful data.
10 deleted scenes last a total of 18 minutes, 35 seconds. The original release included two cut sequences: “Scene 25: Gary’s Shady Deal/Taka Dies” (two minutes, 44 seconds) and “Scene 209-210B: First Version of Jack and Jason After the Big Freeze” (3:46). Those repeat here along with eight more we didn’t see the first time.
The new snippets include “Kids Study” (1:35), “Hurricane Hunter/Kona Beach” (4:23), “Gary Vs. Foster” (0:46), “Tommy’s Big Break” (0:55), “Stock Market Crash” (1:11), “Ask Mexico for Help” (0:58), Campbell & Co.:/Last Exit to Brooklyn” (0:45) and “Wolf Chase Part 2” (1:32).
These vary between general character exposition and new action scenes. Obscure character Gary - the sleazy stockbroker barely seen in the final cut - gets the biggest boost, as he turns into a bigger presence via some added bits. A few other characters receive greater definition, like a TV weatherman. None of these are consequential, but they’re fun to see.
Most interesting is probably the short but dynamic set piece in Hawaii, as it offers a pretty good sequence. It and some others suffer from an absence of completed effects; we see text that reads things like “house flies away” but don’t see it. Again, you won’t find anything scintillating here, but the deleted scenes are interesting to watch.
We can view these scenes with or without commentary from Emmerich and Gordon. They occasionally let us know why they cut the scenes, but usually they do little more than present some minor production notes and narrate the clips. Don’t expect to learn much from them.
Another new addition to the Blu-ray, Cold Zone offers a game. It offers 50 climate-related questions as the movie runs, though you can easily skip ahead from item to item. It becomes a reasonably fun way to learn more about the topic.