Sunday, 12 October 2014

@Alan -- [Narrative] 11: The Day After Tomorrow (2004) - Freytag's Pyramid

Fig. 1: "The Day After Tomorrow" Poster. (2004)
This takes place between 0:03:00 – 0:21:45, as the audience are introduced to the film’s important characters.

Inciting Incident
This happens when paleoclimatologists Jack Hall and Jason Evans; NASA meteorologist, Janet Tokada; and head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Tom Gomez witness the destruction of Los Angeles via multiple large tornadoes on a live news broadcast.

Rising Action / Complications
01.   The first complication comes at the beginning of the movie when Jack, Frank Harris and Jason are drilling out ice cores from Antarctica’s Larsen B Ice Shelf. Jason is left to man the drill, soon after a large fissure quickly opens up of which Jason is saved from falling into.

In order to gather the core samples Jack jumps over the crevice. As the gap widens he tries to jump back over, saving the core samples and making it to the other side. Suddenly the ice caves in beneath his feet and he falls into the crevice, however he is saved by his ice axe, eventually being pulled to safety by his colleagues.  (0:03:00 – 0:06:00)

02.   In Tokyo’s Chiyoda District, a sudden very violent hailstorm with large hailstones brings the film’s first casualty as a man is hit directly on the head by a falling hailstone. (0:10:50 – 0:11:32)

03.   Multiple large tornadoes devastate Los Angeles at the same time, one of which destroys the Hollywood sign. (0:26:00 – 0:27:47)

04.   Three military helicopters fly into the eye of the storm, the helicopters quickly begin to freeze over and lose control. After the final helicopter crashes, one of the men tries to escape but he is quickly frozen in place as soon as he makes contact with the cold air.

05.   Heavy rainfall begins flooding the Manhattan streets, meanwhile a tsunami over two-thirds the total height of the Statue of Liberty approaches New York. At 0:46:52, the tsunami hits New York, flooding the city.  Some survivors including Jack’s son, Sam Hall and his friends are forced to quickly take refuge in the upper levels of the New York Public Library.

06.   Sam is forced to go to one of the Library’s flooded lower levels in order to access a payphone to call his father. Wading through waist deep water he successfully manages to contact his father, but nearly drowns beneath the rising floodwaters in the process. Jack tells Sam he will come for him. (0:54:15 – 0:57:00)

07.   Jack, Frank and Jason are forced to trek towards New York in snowshoes after their car breaks down when it hits an overturned lorry hidden within a snowdrift, while slightly north of Philadelphia. (1:15:00)

08.   Unbeknownst to them, Jack, Frank and Jason walk across the glass roof of a Galleria, while connected to each other and their sled via cord. Their heavy sled causes the glass to begin to crack until it shatters and the sled falls through, leading to the men being pulled towards the hole.

Saved by Jack’s ice axe, and with the sled cut loose, Jack and Jason attempt to pull up Frank, who is left hanging within the Galleria, however doing so causes the glass to begin to break further. In order to save his friends, Frank decides to cut his cord, falling to his death. (1:17:25 - 1:20:00)

09.   As they take refuge in the Library, Sam sees Laura shaking beneath multiple blankets and asks if she is okay, noticing that she looks like she has a fever, but she claims she’s fine and just can’t sleep. (1:22:20)

10.   The next morning, Laura does not wake up, having used a book to identify her symptoms they discover that she has a cut on her leg and has contracted blood poisoning through it. It is revealed that she needs a large dose of penicillin or broad-spectrum antibiotics to survive. (1:25:55)

11.   Via thermal data sent from astronauts aboard the International Space Station to Huston, Janet and Tom discover that the superstorm’s vortex is 50 miles in diameter while getting larger, and that it will hit New York within an hour. (1:27:50)

12.   As Jack and Jason trek towards New York in the snow, Jason passes out while attached to Jack. (1:28:15)

13.   Sam, Brian and J.D. leave the Library in search of medical supplies. They search a stranded ship, which had drifted in front of the Library at the mid point of the film, via the now frozen over flood waters.

During their search, three wolves climb onto the ship, and attracted by the noise, encounter the boys. Having gathered the supplies, the boys barely manage to escape, but not before a wolf bites into J.D.’s leg. (1:28:40 – 1:34:40)

This is reached between 1:35:10 - 1:37:22, as New York goes into a deep freeze as the superstorm’s eye reaches the city.  As this happens, the boys rush to escape being flash frozen by the freezing air, while dragging J.D. along in a life raft found on the ship; reaching the Library, Sam has to drag J.D. while Brian barely manages to close the doors to the fire heated “safe room” in time. To keep the fire burning they throw as many books into it as possible.

Meanwhile after reaching a Wendy’s while dragging an unconscious Jason along behind him, to escape the storm Jack drops Jason through a vent into the Wendy’s, barely avoiding the chill as he jumps through himself. He drags Jason through into the kitchen and slams closed the metal door. In an attempt to warm the room and stop the freeze reaching them, Jack quickly lights the burners on the kitchen’s stove.

Falling Action / Reversal
Jack, Jason, Sam and the others who took refuge in the Library’s safe room, survive the deep freeze. At 1:35:40 Jack reveals that the eye of the storm has passed, and that he and Jason are 40 miles from Manhattan. After reaching Staten Island in New York, Jack and Jason take refuge from the snowstorm in their tent, for the night.

The Reversal truly begins at 1:41:12 as an exterior shot of the Earth reveals the storms are dissipating, which is soon confirmed by an astronaut aboard the ISS. As the sun rises, Jack and Jason leave the tent and discover that the sky is clearing.

At 1:45:40 Jack is reunited with his son, it is also revealed that Laura has survived. The next scene takes place at the United States Embassy in Mexico. Tom informs the US President of Jack making it to New York, as well as the fact there are survivors. Via a televised broadcast the President addresses America, as helicopters fly to New York and rescue the survivors. The movie ends with a shot of the Earth with an almost cloudless sky.

Illustrations List
Fig 1. "The Day After Tomorrow" Poster. (2004) [Poster] At: (Accessed 12.10.14)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Danny

    Good choice of movie, The Day After Tomorrow (and all disaster movies) are examples of the 'Ticking Clock' plot. In general your choices and analysis are good particularly the rising actions, falling actions, and resolution. However, you may want to look a little closer at the connection between the inciting incident and are they related? Did the inciting incident happen earlier before destruction began...such as the reveal of a piece of information which is then reversed at the climax?