Director: Dean Devlin
Writer(s): Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Amr Waked, Adepero Oduye, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris and more
Duration: 1hr 49mins
If you know the name Dean Devlin, Geostorm’s director, and co-writer, then you know his name is closely associated with that of Roland Emmerich. Emmerich is the German director of such great films as Stargate (1994), Independence Day (1996), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 2012 (2009) and others. In fact, Emmerich has pretty much established himself as the “master of disaster” movies over the last 20 years or so. Devlin was with him as a producer for the whole ride, and apparently, he was paying attention. Geostorm is cut from the same DNA as Emmerich’s films. Films that are at heart based on B movie material that Emmerich, and now Devlin have found a formula that only marginally works: Lots of CGI eye candy and a sappy, sentimental hook involving the film’s stereotype characters. There’s nothing new here. The film never rises above being a B movie, but it’s almost an enjoyable B movie if you don’t think about it too much.
Geostorm follows all the rules established by Emmerich’s films, It’s super-corny and riddled with stereotypes and cliches without it being too annoying. It tells a story that appeals to that part of us that doesn’t mind a lot of corn as long as its uplifting and the characters we come to care about in the film are going to be okay, come out on top, and handle the small matter of saving the world from cataclysmic disaster. In Geostorm climate change and the weather is the problem.
In case you’re wondering a Geostorm is when several cataclysmic meteorological events occur at the same time. When catastrophic climate change endangers Earth’s very survival, world governments unite and create the Dutch Boy Program: a worldwide net of satellites, surrounding the planet, that are armed with geoengineering technologies designed to stave off the natural disasters. After successfully protecting the earth for two years, something is starting to go wrong. Two estranged brothers are tasked with solving the program’s malfunction before a worldwide Geostorm can engulf the planet.
The film repeatedly tries to sell a subplot of the two brothers and their rocky relationship as essential to the story. I never really bought into it but acknowledged it was there as part of the film’s narrative. Butler as the mule-headed older brother scientist with zero people skills looks terrible. Like a man who has been up all night partying but is old enough to know better. In sharp contrast is Sturges as the younger brother with people skills and an illicit secret service girlfriend, Sarah Wilson (Cornish) who turns out be an essential part of the plot because she is super skilled at her job.She transforms into a wonder woman.
Ed Harris re-establishes himself as a capable movie psycho while Garcia phones it in as the President who still seemed mostly like the slimy guy he portrayed in the Ocean’s heist films
When things start to go wrong, it’s not long before it’s established its sabotage as part of a conspiracy and it becomes a race to find out who is behind such terribleness. Where Geostorm shines is its visuals, and they’re not all earth-based images of storms. Including Dutchboy, the massive orbital installation, there’s lots of outer space stuff at play here too and some fun shots of a future spaceport launching shuttle after shuttle.
I pretty much found what I expected to find going in and found Geostorm to be a pretty good popcorn movie as long as you are willing to turn your brain off while watching.