UK Release Date: 20th October 2017
Runtime: 109 minutes
Director: Dean Devlin
Writer: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Robert Sheehan, Zazie Beetz
Synopsis: A scientist is sent back up to space to fix a devastating problem with the weather-controlling system of satellites he helped to design. It soon becomes clear there’s something more troubling at play.
It feels cheap to constantly bring up Geostorm’s troubled production while reviewing it. No one has failed to mention its three-year production when lamenting this movie’s muddled tone, dodgy effects, poor performances and overall silliness. However, this year’s latest box office and critical bomb’s history is the only interesting thing about it.
Its premise suggests a cheesy, potentially entertaining schlock value that you don’t get on screen. Gerard Butler plays brilliant scientist Jake Lawson who, to combat global warming and environmental disasters, built a giant network of satellites that stops all of this somehow. It’s never really explained. His brother (Jim Sturgess) is in a political role that keeps him near the President (Andy Garcia), the Secretary of State (Ed Harris) and secret service agent Abbie Cornish, with whom Sturgess’s character is pursuing a secret relationship.
There’s a teenager doing voiceover, stereotypical-to-the-point-of-offense shots of other cultures and comically bad British accents. It has all of the hallmarks of a so-bad-its-good disaster-fest, and yet Geostorm is a weather-based apocalypse movie that leaves you out in the cold.
At its core, Geostorm just doesn’t know what it is. It has a charismatic action lead in Butler, but strands him on a space station hundreds of miles from the action. The film has a larger than life premise about a weather-controlling space station, but focuses on a considerably less interesting political mystery. It has a decent budget for effects, but uses that budget only intermittently, preferring instead to focus on shoddy CGI depictions of men riding camels.
There’s an admittedly thin argument that could be made for interpreting this movie as a pastiche of the worst excesses of the disaster movie genre, but its writer-director Dean Devlin is a Roland Emmerich disciple who helped engineer this brand with writing credits on Independence Day and Godzilla. As a result, it’s too po-faced for anyone to derive any real enjoyment from the long stretches where characters talk you into a bored stupor, where audiences are awoken only slightly by an egregious use of stereotypes, terrible acting choices or Robert Sheehan‘s truly abominable British accent.
In isolation, these moments are funny, but you do find yourself wishing the gratuitous destruction porn played a larger role.
Pop or Poop?
Taking into account the fact the only moments of true joy in Geostorm are totally unintentional, you’re left wondering just what on Earth this movie is for. In truth, it’s nothing more than a waste of your time, during which you are sat in the eye of a storm of empty thrills, incompetent filmmaking and self-destructive missteps likely to illicit disbelieving laughter, but no real excitement.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.