Cast: Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, and Andy Garcia
Director: Dean Devlin
109 minutes (12) 2017
Widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Warner Blu-ray region B
Review by Christopher Geary
The petulant Mark Kermode might consider this to be the stupidest movie he’s ever seen, but Geostorm is actually just a popcorn style sci-fi adventure, and epic disaster movie of global proportions. This rattles happily along from a wrecked city to a threat of worldwide cataclysm and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Roland Emmerich’s usual producer makes his directorial debut here, and this picture's centred upon the planetary scaled response to a series of climate-change devastations in 2019.
The solution is called Dutch Boy, a network of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) positions, using pseudo-science and some practically magical technologies, that ‘zap’ natural catastrophes like tornados, blizzards, and monsoons before any damage is done. This level of futurism is attended by widespread use of electric cars, holo-frame gadgetry, and next-generation shuttles, and yet a fairly stagnant bureaucracy still wields an executive power in America. Three years later, when an Afghan village is flash frozen, and mysterious mayhem erupts in Hong Kong, chief scientist, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), who actually built Dutch Boy, but quickly was discredited by a senate committee, is tasked with returning to the space station and solving the problems.
On the ground, Jake’s younger brother Max (Jim Sturgess) finds himself promoted to the fall guy’s job, and so a political conspiracy thriller soon develops, lurching from backroom deal to apocalyptic and genocidal scenario, while the feuding Lawson brothers bicker until they manage to settle their differences, and team-up to save the world. In a typical twist, the main villain isn’t exposed by the heroes until the spectacular finale, but following the conventions of Hollywood is also easily identifiable as evil from a first appearance early in the movie. Australian actress Abbie Cornish (who portrays famous TV journalist Kate Adie in 6 Days), is good fun as a Secret Service agent who is prompted into action, kidnapping POTUS in order to prevent a holocaust where homicidal sabotage is disguised as systemic malfunction.
Weaponised weather-control inventions are nothing new to genre perspectives. Although not completely derivative, Geostorm seems partly inspired by a German production, The Noah’s Ark Principle (1984), directed by the aforementioned Emmerich, with Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), which featured an Earth shield that protected the planet, and British spy-fi movie The Avengers (1998), where a super-terrorist (Sean Connery!) uses an extreme-weather machine to attack London, as this movie’s prominent predecessors.
For such an indistinctive Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, blazing away, through fast-moving set-pieces, with a cowboyish can-do mentality that disrespects everything from American capitalism to physical science, at least the basic human sentiments in Geostorm’s sundry fantasy elements are bravely honest. It boils down to a couple of heroes at loggerheads, while the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and shows that all of the world’s peoples must learn the art of cooperation on the international stage or humanity faces extinction.