Posted Oct 20 2017

Geostorm - This Disaster Of A Disaster Movie Doesn't Rock

Dir: Dean Devlin

Starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia, Robert Sheehan, Richard Schiff, Mare Winningham

Writer/producer/director Dean Devlin should know a thing or two about disaster. After all, his creative partner used to Roland Emmerich and together they gave the world Independence Day, with Emmerich subsequently also unleashing The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 into the Disaster Movie genre. Here, making his directorial debut, Devlin clearly aspires to all of those movies. And falls way short.

There appears to have been disasters off screen as well. Geostorm was originally scheduled to open a full year and a half ago, and in that lengthy gap, the movie was apparently extensively reworked after poor test screenings, by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Danny Cannon (best known these days for kick starting the likes of CSI and Gotham on TV.)

And then there’s the weather! And the timing! Who wants to go and see tens of millions of dollars worth of CGI earthly destruction by wind, water, ice and fire when you can just turn on the Weather Channel any time in the last few weeks and see it all for real from the comfort of your own home (if the power’s still on)?

So, after all that foreboding, is what finally arrives on the screen any good? Not even slightly. With all the reshoots and retooling it’s probably impossible to know how many writers actually worked on the screenplay (only two are credited) but you’d think between them they could’ve come up with a better plot. And where’s the rule that says if you give them enough spectacle, they won’t notice the dialogue? Trust us, we noticed. And then, to add insult to injury, you cast Gerard Butler as the world’s greatest scientist??? You lost us at “Hello!”

Anyway, - and we’ll keep this short and as non-convoluted as we can - in the not too distant future, global warming has got out of hand (see Donald – now that it’s in a film, maybe you’ll believe it), and Gerry invents a spacey satellite thingy that controls all the world’s weather – and then someone takes control of it and tries to destroy the world. We then cut to the travelogue bits as Hong Kong, the Afghanistan desert, Tokyo, Miami, Rio and more either get hit by hurricanes, ice, fire or flooding – all CGI overload and all, more or less, already seen in the trailer.  (Yes, the money shots have all been spent.) There’s some nonsense with the President as well – but don’t bother yourselves.

Devlin (if indeed it was he in the final cut) clearly wears his influences on his sleeve – thus in the first five minutes we have a car outrunning falling buildings in Hong Kong – almost identical to the same scene in 2012. And yes, there’s a dog – just like in Independence Day. And yes, he survives – just like in Independence Day. And those are just the tip of the iceberg – no pun intended. (Oh, and time yourself how many minutes it takes to spot the bad guy.)

Geostorm could’ve been fun. Hell, we would have settled for “so bad, it’s good.” But it none of the above. It is basic, derivative, rudimentary, full of one dimensional characters that are impossible to even vaguely care about, and, more than anything, just no fun.

Far more a disaster than a disaster movie.


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