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  • The Day After
    • The Day After
    • Runtime:127 min
    • Release Date:2014-07-25 03:25:13
    • Director: Nicholas Meyer
    • Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:The Day After
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The day after is something I never actually saw back in the 80's but
heard numerous references to throughout the decade and beyond. About 8
years ago I finally found it in a video store and decided to watch it.
Bare in mind that I have seen several nuclear holocaust movies growing
up and they always managed to send shivers down my spine. This was due
to the fact that it was always a distinct possibility that we could
have a all out nuclear war and even if you survived the blast you would
die a horrific death of radiation or starvation. It was a real curious
paradox, on the one hand I was intrigued by the sheer magnitude of
total destruction while on the other hand being utterly scared to death
over the prospect. If I had witnessed "The Day After" back in 1983,
when I was not yet 12, I most likely would have been scarred for life.
Thankfully as an adult I was just eerily entertained. I can certainly
see why this movie was presented with a tremendous amount of carefull
preparation and planning for audiences back then. Remember how the
promos constantly had a "viewer discretion advised" on the screen. Or
how they had 1-800 hot lines to field peoples concerns after the show.
Jeez, you would have thought that right after the movie ww3 was about
to start. Had this movie been made today, I seriously doubt there would
have been as much hoopla as they had back then. That is not to diminish
the effectiveness of the movie, its just nowadays the threat of nuclear
war is less worrisome compared to the threat of nuclear terrorism. As
for the movie. It certainly has its graphic scenes that don't
sugar-coat anything. The anxiety of the missiles that are on their way
and then the horrific images of the blast going off with people being
instantly evaporated, and worst of all the futile challenge of the
survivors trying to go on living. I really have to compliment the fact
that this movie doesn't offer any hope at the end of the movie. Its
bleak and depressing but its dead on honest and shows the reality of
nuclear war. To have interject some sense of shouldering ahead for a
better tomorrow would have been insulting. These people are doomed to
die and that is why the movie stresses at the end that we must avoid
this pointless war at all costs. The only down side is that while I can
appreciate and respect the story and plot, the dialog is, at times, a
bit amateurish and juvenile.

Conclusion: See this movie and it will reawaken the reality of Nuclear
War. Something that must be avoided.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't see this film when it first aired, but 27 years later and it
left me with great sorrow.

Some people are empathic about what they would do or not do in a crisis
of this magnitude–nuclear attack–but unless we are actually in a
situation like this all we are doing is hoping we'd rise to the
occasion(s) set before us.

What was real for me were the human emotions, which others felt
contrived, but for me spoke volumes about what we find most important
in crisis.

It made perfect sense to me for people to want to go "home" and/or to
find loved ones; it seemed reasonable that those most affected by
radiation would suffer, the more exposure, the greater the sickness. It
also made sense for the government to offer platitudes and for
Agri-representatives to offer palliative solutions to the farmers with
real questions and serious concerns. And as painful as it was, it made
sense to see and hear folks try to hold onto what they had, and die for
their longing.

What doesn't make sense is that after 27 years we can all imagine with
clarity that these events could happen between or among nations.

I commend Robards and the cast for low-key but superlative acting in
this truly memorable film.

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Today, The Day After is quite hackneyed, at least before the missiles
hit, what with the farmer's daughter having pre-marital sex the day
before their wedding and all the God-Bless-'Mer'ca trivia, even if it
is meant paradoxically, all this classically American sentimentality
ensuing just diametrically on top of all the ICBMs that will before
long decimate human society: That's all-American, too, a shower of
nuclear carnage. I imagine the kids who were made to watch it by their
parents and teachers didn't make that link. But what they surely do
recall even now is watching with concentrated, anxious dismay, waiting
for the bombs to go off. Intended to be the most lifelike portrayal of
nuclear war ever produced for wide appeal.

No, withdraw that: ABC advertised that, taking advantage of our fears,
and very, very successfully, too. (I just freshly read that during the
original broadcast, there were no commercial breaks after the nuclear
attack. Hitchcock would be proud.) You couldn't not watch this film.
And even today, with the probability of what it depicts really
happening having diminished, it's deemed more fitting for
channel-cruising, it's a hypnotic memento of how terrified people were
then, watching Steve Guttenberg walking down that deserted country
road, cows, a horse, a swingset, the last seconds of anything remotely
ordinary. The cast is comprised generally of novices and comparatively
minor actors, various local actors and actresses from Kansas City and
Lawrence to satisfy the smaller supporting roles, all for purposes of
naturalism.

But despite its ambition, The Day After is still not above the most
careless clichés. Above all, what on earth would possess you, hiding
from radiation and survivalists in the basement of your own home, to
leave your dog on the other side of the door to starve, die of
radiation or both? What line of reasoning did I miss? The thing about
saving the rations for the family? A whole basement of canned goods and
you can't spare one a day for your dog? Even during a tornado in
Twister, another mawkishly American depiction of disaster, young Helen
Hunt's family still brings the dog with them. And that's a tornado! But
wouldn't you do that? Who do you know who would just leave their dog a
push and a pull of a door away from dying a painful, lonely death?

Nevertheless, somehow, the film sparked much political debate in the
United States about whether or not we should forsake the first use of
nuclear weapons, a policy which had been a basis of NATO defense
planning. That is to say, Wow, Nicholas Meyer, good job on the movie.
It's very rare that storytelling media's effect on one's ideas and
convictions makes even a blip on the radar. And yet, according to some,
Reagan wrote in his diary that the film left him deeply disheartened,
and that he had a change of heart on the established strategy of a
nuclear war. In the late '80s during the era of Gorbachev's government
transparency and restructuring, the film was shown on Soviet TV. During
the signing of the U.S.-Soviet treaty eliminating nuclear and
conventional ground-launched missiles, Reagan wrote a message that
said, "Don't think your movie didn't have any part of this."

I suppose what The Day After is, over and above the impact of the film
itself, is a sociological example of how we need to be aware that the
myths, beliefs and practices preferred by our culture will find their
way into our stories where they can be reinforced, criticized or simply
reproduced, and we see it all the time, and only a few cause us to see
more than just what we want to see when we see it. If you see what I
mean.

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*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You know you're pretty much doomed when the US and The Soviet Union
decide to fire nuclear warheads at each other. That's the plot of this
made for TV film about what would happen if the Cold War became so
intense that we destroyed each other. I believe the nuking scene made
extensive use of stock footage from nuclear test sites of the 40's, but
still managed to be very very tight. I really enjoyed the cast,
especially John Lithgow, who became famous for his portrayal of Dick
Solomon in "3rd Rock From the Sun".

I think what I liked the most about this movie was the fact that it
doesn't focus on entertaining the audience with scenes of destruction,
but instead focuses on showing the audience the effects of people who
had their lives shattered by the end of the world. All in all, it's a
very good movie. Weapons are fired. Worlds end. %$!$ happens.

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