Hot Take: A dull disaster movie? What the hell?
Geostorm isn’t very original. It appears as a knock-off of Deep Impact, Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow. Now that 4DX technology exists, Geostorm may have been worth watching in that setting. Otherwise, this is one of the most boring disaster films ever made and that’s even with its numerous action sequences and some rather impressive visuals. Scene after scene of exposition intertwined with overly loud action set pieces that add almost nothing to the disaster film genre while exploiting almost every cliche you’d expect to see in a disaster flick.
Let’s start with the main character, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler). Jake, the architect of the space station “Dutch Boy”, a system of satellites designed to control the Earth’s climate which saved the world once before when cataclysmic weather events threatened the stability of the planet, is also a divorced, single parent who thumbs his nose to authority and eventually is fired from working at his own space station. His brother, Max (Jim Sturgess), is a politically savvy government official who is put in charge of “Dutch Boy” and forced to fire his own brother. He’s also sleeping with a Secret Service agent (Abbie Cornish) which is against the rules, of course, and a terribly kept secret. (The President and his people don’t know but people know.) When “Dutch Boy” begins to fail 3 years after Jake’s dismissal and catastrophic weather events kill hundreds around the globe in Afghanistan and Hong Kong, Max must ask Jake to come back to the project. Jake’s super smart and talented daughter Hannah (Talitha Bateman) hates the idea and worries about her dad’s safety. He assures her nothing will happen. We know that’s not true. Jake heads back to space to check out what’s wrong with “Dutch Boy” and Max must investigate what is going on within his own circle to find out who is causing “Dutch Boy” to fail, if it isn’t just a malfunction of the system.
As the plot unfolds, even the most moderate moviegoer can figure out where it’s headed. An accurate description of Geostorm‘s destination would be nowhere fast as the less than groundbreaking storyline is only slightly redeemed by some impressive CGI devastation as the “Dutch Boy” satellite wrecks havoc on the planet whenever it fails. We see the remnants of what an ice storm does to a desert village in Afghanistan and the devastating effects of skyrocketing temperatures in Hong Kong. There’s also some set pieces aboard the “Dutch Boy” as the systems onboard cause some calamitous outcomes that reach deadly proportions for the “Dutch Boy” crew and put Jake’s life on the line a couple of times. It sounds action packed but, for the most part, it is unmemorable and boring to watch. Honestly, I had to read the Wikipedia write-up of the plot to jog my memory of the events of the film and I cannot remember the last 15 minutes of the film at all.
There are so many better films than Geostorm within its own genre or in theaters right now. If you’re a sucker for disaster flicks, even that might not be enough to save this predictable, lazy movie that relies heavily on the lowest common denominator of public consumption. Basically, it feels like the filmmakers focused heavily on the visuals and then let the rest of the film’s plot be decided by a random generator of previous plot lines of other disaster films. The hollow performances and lack of any real drama makes the action less than enthralling outside of its visual impressiveness. While I never have a problem wasting 2 hours in a theater, given the choice to do it all over again, Geostorm is one film viewing experience I’d skip.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- A 4DX Novelty
Where Geostorm would work really well is as the storyline to an amusement park ride. The 4DX technology exists in some major markets and Geostorm is probably glorious in this setting for there’s plenty of action to interact with. I wonder how wet you get during the tidal wave scene?
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Andy Garcia Ruins Everything!
Chosen to be the President in this film, I am of the firm belief that Andy Garcia ruins every movie he’s in. While I might be exaggerating, Garcia as President Palma adds almost nothing to the film and is one of the least memorable big screen Presidents in recent memory.
- Another Gerard Butler Lowlight
Outside of 2007 when Butler co-starred in 300 and P.S. I Love You, Gerard’s filmography is its own version of a disaster. Even the most successful films — Law Abiding Citizen, Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen — weren’t received well, critically. While it is unlikely Geostorm will be the box office failure that Gods of Egypt was, at some point you’d think Hollywood producers would think twice before saddling themselves to Butler’s wagon.
- Correcting Someone’s Grammar Incorrectly
There’s a scene where one character says, “You and me” and another character interjects that it is “You and I” which, after thinking through it, I’m pretty sure it is “You and me” in this instance. I wish I could remember the exact dialogue but, like most of the film, I’ve forgotten the details. If you’re that interested in checking the film’s grammar, feel free to watch this dreck.