If you’ve heard anything about Geostorm, you’ve probably compared it to The Day After Tomorrow or the countless other disaster movies that Hollywood seems intent on shoveling out every other year. What started with genuinely entertaining films such as Twister, Armageddon and even Deep Impact, has devolved into special effects spectacles that offer little in the way of substance or entertainment for anyone over the age of 10. The latest special effects event film about global disaster is Geostorm and our Geostorm review will cover exactly why you should skip this one in theaters.
The new film from writer and director Dean Devlin focuses on a very real issue, global warming. At the very start of the film there’s a monologue about how weather started to turn extreme and something had to be done. The world came together to create a network of satellites tied to a super modified version of the International Space Station, that can control and alter the weather. There are some definite parallels with current global weather patterns, but no more than five minutes into the film things start to go downhill.
Taking place in 2019, a mere two years from now, it’s not hard to imagine what our technology will look like then. Unfortunately, Geostorm seems to ignore the technology we have now, let alone how things will advance over the next two years. One example is the fact that the space shuttles have been retired for over six years now, with NASA having no plans to bring them back anytime soon, and SpaceX offering new ways of space transportation for NASA and other parties. However, for some reason there are dozens of space shuttles (with a slightly updated design) in Geostorm. Even at the peek of the space shuttle program, NASA only had five that were spaceworthy at any given time. Seeing dozens of them lined up at Cape Canaveral is a little hard to believe.
The space shuttle issue is just one minor example of how Geostorm ignores modern technology, essentially insulting the audience. It’s one thing to use “movie science” to explain what’s going on in a film, but the science and technology featured in Geostorm are bad to the point of being insulting. If the film took place 30 years from now it would be much easier to suspend belief, but with a vast majority of the film taking place in 2019, it’s hard for even a non-science minded moviegoer to swallow some of this.
Visually, Geostorm is on par with other big disaster movies. The special effects and Gerard Butler’s convincing performance as Jake Lawson, designer of basically every major piece of technology in the film, are the only points of interest in Geostorm. This is the same Gerard Butler seen in Olympus Had Fallen, London Has Fallen and countless other similar films. He knows how to play this kind of character and it shows through as the one shining performance in Geostorm.
Jake’s brother, Max Lawson (Jim Sturgess), is a complete mess. Sturgess over-dramatizes everything, and his overacting kills almost every scene that features the character. Max’s fiancée, Sarah Wilson (Abbie Cornish), tries to balance out their scenes together, but it’s not enough to keep Sturgress from going over the top scene after scene.
The only way to enjoy Geostorm is if you can completely shut your brain off. The science in the film isn’t just unbelievable, it’s downright bad and even contradicts itself multiple times throughout the movie. Not all films need to be believable, especially when you’re dealing with science fiction, but some of the events and technology in Geostorm are too farfetched to believe, especially given the 2019 time frame.
If you enjoyed other generally terrible global annihilation films, Geostorm should be right up your alley. With Dean Devlin writing and directing Geostorm, you should already know what you’re in for. This is the same person who wrote Independence Day: Resurgence, the terrible 1998 Godzilla film, hasn’t directed anything of significance, and was a producer on such films as Fly Boys and Eight Legged Freaks. Early in his career he did have a hand in the original Independence Day and the Stargate film, but since then it’s been terrible film after terrible film.
Don’t waste your time paying for Geostorm unless you enjoy truly terrible films that are nothing more than mindless special effects spectacles. There’s very little to like about Geostorm, but if anything perhaps it will get the world to pay closer attention to the very real global warming issue at hand. Do yourself a favor and pass up on Geostorm until it’s on cable or Netflix.
Synopsis: When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it’s a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.
Director: Dean Devlin
Writers: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot
Stars: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish
Runtime: 1 Hour, 49 Minutes