Geostorm is like Armageddon except with weather and none of the charm or quirkiness that makes it a good, bad movie.
Dean Devlin makes his feature film debut with Geostorm – a film that will definitely not blow you away.Most of us are aware of the potentially devastating affects that climate change can have on the world. If you have been watching the news recently you’ll have been witness to some disasters that raise a number of questions regarding what can we possibly do to protect ourselves against the enormous power that nature can yield. And similarly the film industry is no stranger to engaging and playing out those fears with an already large number of disaster movies having been released, some based on actual events and some going down the ‘what if’ route. And that’s where the latest disaster movie Geostorm enters the equation; what if climate change got out of control and had extremely devastating effects on the weather?Set in a not too distant future where the world has already bared the brunt of several natural disasters, from droughts to hurricanes to a heatwave in Madrid killing 2 million people in just one day. With the world in the hands of Mother Nature, preventative measures had to be taken in the form of a network of satellites and a space station, collectively known as ‘Dutch Boy’, that monitor and control the weather on Earth. Dutch Boy was built by a team from 17 different countries headed up by Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), who was also in charge of running it, that was until his brother Max Lawson (Jim Sturgess), in charge of maintaining Dutch Boy with his feet firmly on the ground from within the U.S State Department, fired him.
Jump to three years later and, like most good things that come to an end, so too does the safety provided by Dutch Boy: a small village in Afghanistan is subjected to a flash freeze causing the inhabitants to literally be frozen in place. Concerned that more of these incidents might occur the President (Andy Garcia) and his men determine that someone will have go up to the space station to check it out. And of course the only person qualified is Jake Lawson. But there is more going on than just a glitch in the software, as Jake and Max start to realise that perhaps the incident in Afghanistan wasn’t just an accident – especially after a series of events trying to attempt to understand what is happening to the satellites are scuppered. Realising that control of Dutch Boy might no longer be in their hands Jake and Max set about trying to save the world from the threat of a looming geostorm and flush out the bad guys responsible.
Geostorm is the first feature film to be written and directed by Dean Devlin, and unfortunately, it shows. Having written Independence Day with Roland Emmerich, who also directed, you’d think Devlin would have taken a few pointers on what makes a good disaster movie work. Instead it seems Devlin has pulled out all the top cliches he could think of and bundled them together in the hope that something good would come out of it. There is definitely an environmental agenda on show courtesy of the voice over introduction from Jake’s daughter Hannah (Talitha Eliana Bateman) and Devlin works hard to hammer this home but that effort could have been put to far better use elsewhere. The film is called Geostorm which implies that not only is it a disaster movie but one that is going to heavily feature actual disasters on a large scale. We do get to see some of these disasters, but only briefly, such as tornados made of fire and enormous tidal waves decimating the likes of Dubai. But they feel last minute, as though they were an after-thought tacked on at the end and, ultimately, you’re left wanting bigger and better scenes of destruction that were promised by the title – as pessimistic as that sounds.
Geostorm sets itself high expectations and unfortunately doesn’t quite deliver
The scenes in space however, are fairly decent and do look okay in 3D (although it’s definitely no Gravity) but it never manages to deliver any sense of urgency, despite the numerous countdown clocks used towards the end. Occasionally it felt like it had taken a leaf out of the Bourne book, with the conspiracy and government cover up, but even then it doesn’t work as it and is blatantly obvious who to point the finger at. Everything in this film felt convenient, and I know that in films you have to allow for a certain degree of convenience but Geostorm takes this to a whole new level.
The script did not do any favours to the cast – who were all average at best. There were no stand out performances and I know that with films like this you can’t really expect too much but you do hope for a certain amount of emotional involvement so that you feel relieved when the hero succeeds and saves everyone. Butler isn’t bad per se but he’s just sort of okay. He doesn’t really do a lot on screen apart from walk about and attend large scale face time conference calls. The relationship between Jake and his daughter was in no way believable and unfortunately for Bateman there are far better child performers out there that could have worked wonders with that role, albeit small.
Geostorm is not a good movie. Having suffered numerous reshoots and schedule delays, one might wonder why the studio even bothered releasing it? However despite it’s failings there are some nuggets to take away from this film: a positive outlook that together we can all make the world a better place and that there's no hint at a sequel. My recommendation: watch this when it becomes available to stream or is shown on TV and save your money.
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