Many things in this world are unpredictable. The reason for this is because so many things in this world are controlled by a wide variety of variables. While a lot of these variables can be modeled in computer simulations, some variables are so interconnected to each other that it is nearly impossible to predict how they will react. One of these unpredictable concepts is that of the weather. Many variables including temperature, wind speed, humidity, and barometric pressure contribute to how weather will behave. There are many models that can determine the weather, but the confidence of the estimates falls off quickly the further out the intended timeframe is from the time of the prediction. When an alignment of weather variables occurs, a perfect storm is bound to occur. This week’s two films focus on perfect storms.
The Day After Tomorrow
Length: 124 minutes / 2.07 hours
Because variables are, by their nature, variable, sometimes they can reach extremes. When a variable is unusually high or low, extreme weather can result. With the onset of global climate change, also sometimes known as global warming, these extremes occur much more often than they have in the past. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards can all be common occurrences when the variables driving them are near their sustainable limits. Unfortunately, many claim that humans are to blame for this extreme weather. This is not a problem for a single nation, but rather it is a problem for everyone. It is unclear if the damage can be undone, but if you’ve ever noticed how much extreme weather we’ve been getting recently, then you can already see the effects. Of course Hollywood likes to over-exaggerate, which is how we end up with films like The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
While out doing research in Antarctica, Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) barely escapes with his life when the ice shelf he’s studying breaks off. Safely back on land, he presents the data he extracted from the ice, showing that the world is about to be plunged into weather-related turmoil. Other data elsewhere begins to corroborate his research as other scientists notice strange weather phenomena starting to occur. Meanwhile, Jack’s son, Sam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is stuck in Manhattan when massive flooding occurs, trapping him and his friends in the New York Public Library. When a Polar Vortex advances down into the United States, the wet New Yorkers soon find the outdoor temperatures to be well below freezing, and dropping fast. Jack learns of his son’s predicament and gets a dogsled to come and rescue him. But will the weather get even worse before they can meet?
The Perfect Storm
Length: 130 minutes / 2.17 hours
Sometimes the truth is more incredible than fiction. There have been reports after tornadoes touch down of some very crazy things having happened. Straw shot through trees, houses lifted and placed down gently, entire neighborhoods destroyed with the exception of a lone structure. Most people wouldn’t believe the kinds of things that storms can do, except that eye witnesses can always corroborate these strange occurrences. Similarly, when storms break records, the types of things that happen are rarely seen by mere mortals. For the lucky few who survive, they can go on to describe waves as tall as buildings, winds so strong that metal is ripped apart, and lightning so frequent it illuminates the sky like daylight. Based on true, unfortunate circumstances, The Perfect Storm (2000) focused on one of the most perfect alignments of weather variables in U.S. history.
Commercial fishing is a lucrative and incredibly dangerous industry. With each trip out into the ocean, the men on these ships put their lives on the line and in the hands of their captain. If they succeed, they’ll live like kings for a few weeks. If they fail, their debts will come to swallow them whole. In 1991, the Andrea Gail is set to go out to sea late in the season in the hopes that they’ll get a big catch. Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) has convinced his men to sail with him, even if a few of them don’t come due to a bad feeling about the trip. When they get out to sea, they eventually land a big catch and start to head home. Unfortunately, a peculiar set of circumstances combine into a deadly storm that stands between them and home. With no other options, the crew battens down the hatches and tries to ride it out. Do they survive, or does the sea claim another group of victims?
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 stupendous storms