Geostorm Movie Review: The Greatest Man-made Disaster since Climate Change?
Geostorm, the Gerard Butler-starrer is every terrible disaster movie rolled into one.
A still from Geostorm (Image courtesy: YouTube)
Director: Dean Devlin
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris
Spoiler alert: Do not Watch This Movie
Many, many years ago, when the internet as we know it today was still in its infancy, a video was circulated across the world and became instantly infamous. Without going into details or even naming it, it involved two girls and a cup and.. Oops, sorry. In any case, it was a truly horrifying spectacle, an affront to whatever higher being you worship or lack of thereof. Most people (including the writer of this piece) couldn’t sit through the first few minutes of it, never mind the whole thing. It was dehumanizing, utterly revolting and the worst thing I had ever seen. And then there’s Geostorm. Gun to my head, if I had to pick between re-watching that video or this movie, I’d probably, probably pick Geostorm. The fact that this decision gives one pause should tell you how godawful this movie is.
Geostorm is every terrible disaster movie ever made rolled into a single grotesque cinematic chimera. That it’s cinematic in scale and depth, let there be no doubt. This is a movie in which the CGI is more emotive than its actors, with the latter being confined to racist and or stereotypical character arcs.
You may have noticed this review is skirting around the actual content of the film, and that’s because, really? You really want to know? Fine. Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler, characteristically uncomfortable without a weapon) is a rambunctious scientific genius, terrible father and older brother to the perpetually petulant Max (Jim Sturgess, annoying and whiny as usual), who is unshaven, unkempt and also Assistant Secretary of State because why the hell not?
What Jake’s actual job description is, is up for debate. He designs and maintains an incredibly complex system of climate-controlling satellites that form a web around the world and help prevent climatic catastrophes that have been surging since 2019. The satellite system was built by 17 nations, and that team is headed by Jake. He’s administrator slash engineer slash astronaut slash weather expert slash computer whiz who can hack his way through international databases.
Covering all bases, the movie simply refers to him as chief scientist. Yes, the bar is that low. Alas, because Jake doesn’t respect authority, he’s booted out of work and his job of running the station is naturally given to Max. Indeed, in a scene that has slightly less emotional poignancy than a spilled drop of ice cream, Max is the one who actually fires Jake.
Cut to three years later, the satellites are malfunctioning, causing an Afghan village of 300 people (all of whom look like Mujahideen of course) to be literally flash frozen as well as gas line explosions in Hong Kong due to er, high temperatures (because temperatures that cause humans to sweat profusely are too much for reinforced steel to handle, didn't you know?). US President Andrew Palma and US Secretary of State Leonard Dekkom (Andy Garcia and Ed Harris respectively, both visibly embarrassed at being associated with such effete crap) tell Max to send up only one man to fix it because the US is handing over the satellite system to an international committee in two weeks and they don’t want to anyone to know America ain’t great again.
That man is, you guessed it, Jake, who lives in what is essentially a dust bowl with his young denim-clad daughter who’s inherited his scientific and mechanical aptitude (cough, cough. Interstellar). Jake goes up to space, meets a contemptuous crew who doesn’t know the man who literally saved the entire planet three years ago and gradually earns their grudging respect. There he discovers a conspiracy reaching up to the highest levels of government, yadayadayada. You already know who it is, don’t you?
Oh, and Max is in a relationship with Secret Service Agent Sarah Wilson (Abbie Cornish, who actually makes an effort with her character, which makes it all the more embarrassing) who’s on the President’s personal security detail. The two are engaged but nobody knows they’re even together because it’s against the rules. Despite the fact that discussing this prohibition makes up almost all of their conversation (and foreplay), the US Assistant Secretary of State and his secret service agent fiancee live together in the middle of DC, go out for meals and somehow nobody knows.
This is what Warner Bros. Pictures threw a reported $120 million dollars into? If they wanted to waste all that money, they could have given it to me. Or to you. To anyone. They could have given that $120 million dollars to a lobotomized orangutan, who would have come up with something better.
If this isn’t the most glaring example of a tax write-off, then maybe they just liked the name, right? It is a pretty cool name: Geostorm. It sounds like a global storm of biblical proportions and that would be pretty neat to see. That’s about the only thing you can hope for at this point in the movie; the money shot so to speak.
Nope, sorry. Geostorm, apart from being a made up word, is a chain reaction of catastrophic weather events including hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, hailstones the size of those Easter Island heads, explosions and whatever else can destroy cities in the most visually-arresting ways. If that sounds dumb to you, well, guess you’re not going to be getting those $120 million dollars.
But anyway, yeah. There’s no geostorm. You’re being peddled a tissue of lies, dear reader. A soiled tissue from a shady dive bar, presumably much like the one Geostorm's script was written on. Caveat Emptor.
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