Directed by Dean Devlin
Starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris
Film Review by Jack Bottomley
When it comes to destructive movies, disaster master Roland Emmerich is the first name that springs to mind and the biggest surprise ahead of Geostorm was that the film was not helmed by him but instead by Independence Day co-writer Dean Devlin. Over the course of the last 20 years, the genre has really done a lot to our little planet, it has bombarded it with asteroids, invaded it, fractured it, drown it and blown it to smithereens, and now comes Geostorm, which seeks to take things to a new scale but is actually a catastrophe in all the wrong ways.
Despite sounding like an afternoon slot filler on SyFy, this is actually a big screen cinema release that has a hefty budget and a decent cast and we were hoping for a big fun disaster flick as a result…what we get unfortunately, is a film that makes the fatal mistake of thinking it is far more intelligent than it actually is. The plot takes place in a near future where the Global Climate has become so hostile it needs a network of satellites controlled from space to keep the world in balance, however when things start unexpectedly going wrong with the space station, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), the man who designed the system, must return to space and find the problem, only to discover it is far bigger than anyone could have foreseen.
For all the problems Geostorm could have had, never in a million years did I expect my biggest gripe to be that the film was boring and lacking in impressive destructive weather set pieces. Yet, that is indeed this movie’s biggest failing, as the trailers have basically shown you all the films huge money shot CGI devastation and the rest consists of a couple of chases, some space station panic and – most damningly of all – a conspiracy plot that is at odds with the film being promoted. Geostorm puzzlingly tries to craft a very serious political parable out of a film that features numerous scenes of dialogue all dressed up in fancy jargon to hide the silly nonsensical lame science fiction lite narrative. The film’s attempts at weight may have been commendable were it not for the fact that the plotting is sheer nonsense and uninvolving thanks to a script that seems like little more than overly patriotic gobbledygook.
Even the CGI, which at $120 million dollars of course looks fine, is not exactly that impressive and the action set pieces do not at all distinguish themselves from any major entry in the genre in the last 2 decades. Had the last 20 years of disaster films never happened, Geostorm would fare better but they have and after seeing films like Independence Day (and its equally barmy sequel), Armageddon, 2012, Into The Storm, The Day After Tomorrow and San Andreas, you have seen practically everything in Geostorm and all done better.
Despite the efforts of Jim Sturgess, the cast mostly look not very into it and the films only real connective scene involves a boy and a dog and it lasts a minute if that. Overall Geostorm is not as insultingly bad as some films but is just very forgettable and not all that entertaining and as a cautionary tale about climate change it is just ludicrous. Literally the only chilling scenes are the real life footage of natural disasters used in the opening. For all the CGI in the world, Geostorm cannot outdo real life events and cannot better a good 80% of films in the genre in the last 20 years in terms of spectacle, charisma and thrills.