Directed by Dean Devlin
Starring: Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, And Garcia
Written by Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot
I feel really badly because I was going to open this review with yet another “when I was a kid” type stories to share. Yes, I grew up with effect-laden spectacles, and I even found a second wind with the disaster epics that permeated moviegoers’ minds in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They had stories and characters that amplified the moods of audiences. Most importantly, they had stories that audiences could relate to. Unfortunately, Dean Devlin’s Geostorm has all of the ambition, but none of the relatability.
In the film, 18 of the world’s governments band together to create a satellite network called “Dutch Boy”, which was designed to control the global weather, creating calm. The chief architect behind “Dutch Boy”, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) brings the system online in 2019. Three years later, he is removed from the program in a bureaucratic move, and when a freak ice storm kills a village full of people in the deserts of Afghanistan, Jake is called back into action.
The film does do two things right. First, it builds on the global warming environment. It doesn’t dwell on it, but it does bring those concerns to the center of the world stage. It also brings together collaboration by world governments. I leave the particulars of the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ for audiences to discover.
Needless to say, the script by Mr. Devlin, Paul Guyot and in an uncredited re-write, Laela Kalogridis, is largely uninspired. It felt as if they took the best parts of Gravity, Independence Day, The Core, Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow and Armageddon, put them in a blender, shook the chunks out and called it a day.
The casting is fine for this type of film. Jim Sturgess doesn’t do action very well, but as Max Lawson, he is convincing when he conveys the seriousness of the situation. Abbie Cornish was no-nonsense serious as Secret Service Agent Sarah Wilson, but the relationship between Sarah and Max feels extremely forced. It was nice to see Richard Schiff in a cameo, while Andy Garcia makes for a formidable POTUS. Ed Harris plays Leonard Dekkom, the Secretary of State. I don’t know where his character’s inspiration came from, but if you’re paying attention to the dialog, the outcome of the film becomes clear very early on.
The second thing that this film gets right are the gorgeous special effects. Yes, some of the effects are hyper-frenetic. Yet, they had plausibility to the narrative. The scenes in orbit looked extremely realistic and the future space shuttles gave me hope for a second round of the Space Program.
It was clear that Mr. Devlin had a vision, and when the film didn’t test well, extensive reshoots were ordered and the film sat on the shelf for two years. It is not an abomination, but it is not Mr. Devlin at the top of his game either. I have to say that I was genuinely unhappy when, after the house lights came up, I couldn’t even laugh at some of the gross overstatements the film makes. As I was trying to figure out how to convey my feelings for Geostorm, I decided to let something that made an impact on me as a child convey my feelings for me: “It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature.”
1.5 out of 4 stars