The year is 2019 and Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), a genius architect, has just created “Dutch Boy”, a system of satellites designed to control climate on a global scale. However, when he is insubordinate to Congress, he gets fired and replaced by his brother, Max (Jim Sturgess). Three years later, “Dutch Boy” is experiencing malfunctions which are causing strange geographical disasters across the globe. Jake is recruited to delve into what’s happening and soon discovers that this is no accident…
People may already be aware that the release of Geostorm has been repeatedly delayed, its initial release date going as far back, in fact, as March 2016. At the time, Warner Bros replaced its release with that of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and now Geostorm hits cinemas at a time when real-life disasters like hurricanes, floods and earthquakes have caused tragedy in Mexico, Florida, Sierra Leone and, most recently, Puerto Rico. The ill-timing of its release is unfortunate but putting that to one side, it’s important to focus on the movie for what it is – disaster movie? More like disastrous movie.
A child narrator (who we later identify as Jake’s child) narrates as the audience is presented with pictures that are close to home, a montage of global disasters which while fictional (given the film takes place two years into the future), feature all-too-familiar imagery. Subsequently, we meet Jake as he is called to a Senate sub-committee hearing. He acts so defiantly and obnoxiously that, of course, he gets fired – and this the behaviour of one of our 'brilliant scientists.'
The film then proceeds to lather itself up in cliché after cliché, hoping to win the affections of an unthinking audience. There’s the smart kid with the separated parents, the feuding brothers, a resilient girlfriend trying to balance her relationship and her career, a baddie with a scar on his face, and the father and daughter living in a caravan in the idyllic countryside until the father gets called into action. It feels like a inferior copy of Interstellar with precisely none of its emotional depth, and none of its aesthetic investment.
Speaking of lack of investment, do any of the actors actually care about this movie? For Butler, Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia, this is just another pay check, which is made painfully obvious by their half-arsed attempts to add feeling into the movie. And who can blame them, to be honest, when their characters are such dull and overdone types? Mind you, Robert Sheehan does seem to at least be trying, but the main saving grace among the performances is Zazie Beetz, the only character with any appeal, and who has way too little screen time as the cheeky ‘Milennial’ Dana. The actress should come out of this unscathed anyway as she plays Domino in Deadpool 2 next.
Lastly, we have the CGI effects which, one has to accept, are the primary reason people go to see these films (it's to be shown in 3D, IMAX and all that jazz). The USP of this film is it allows you to see what Rio de Janeiro and Afghanistan would look like if they freezed over, imagines tidal waves in the desert, and asks what if Moscow was set on fire (no political motivations there I’m sure…)? But at the end of the day, the effect are not all that spectacular. 2015’s San Andreas, by comparison, looked much better, and on top of that, everything else around Geostorm is just so lazy and bland that it is simply unredeemable.
Leaving this film, you feel nothing. You won’t be angry at its pointlessness, nor feel any sense of excitement or wonder for its duration. Just numbness, nothingness. Do not waste your hard-earned money seeing this film – it is one of the worst of the year.