Despite sounding like a weekday afternoon SyFy film, Geostorm comes tearing into cinemas and while hopes were not particularly high, I was at least anticipating a fun slice of natural disaster movie mayhem. Shockingly not directed by master of disaster Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012), this film instead comes from Independence Day and Godzilla (1998) co-writer Dean Devlin. Unfortunately the end result is less knowing than any of the aforementioned and is a disaster in all the wrong ways.
Look, nobody was expecting Birdman here, or a deeply layered look at the impact of global warming, we were expecting a Gerard Butler led romp that was preposterous but hopefully fun with it. However, what I never expected in a million years was to be criticising Geostorm for not having enough extreme weather action scenes! Practically all of the films money shots have filled out the trailers and TV spots, with the rest being the odd forgettable CGI crash, bangs and wallops. Everything here has been done better in numerous other (or most other) entries in the genre. If you have seen any of the Emmerich big screen disaster flicks, or the likes of San Andreas and even Into The Storm, then you have already seen Geostorm…done better. Heck, there isn’t even an actual Geostorm in the movie!
The opening scenes setting up the films now unified and post natural disaster future – which use real life footage of natural catastrophes – offers far more distressing and astonishing sequences than any of the effects filled hour and a half that follows. The tropes are ticked off (including a dog in peril scene that tips its hat to Independence Day and 2012) but the film really comes completely undone as it decides to drift away from the action and instead tell a story of political conspiracy and government weaponisation. Credit where it’s due, there is potential for such a story but it is not in a film that features Gerard Butler bouncing off the exteriors of a space station like a pinball. Geostorm thinks of itself as a cautionary allegory when in actual fact it is uninvolving, seen-it-before and, worst of all, really dull.
Even the actual action is visually unimpressive and Lorne Balfe’s overly patriotic score is either drowned out by lightening strikes and space station explosions or more often than not unnoticeably backing unconvincing scenes of tech talk that demand urgency but instead get eye rolls, that is if they have maintained your attention in the first place. Meanwhile the cast of some reasonably big names never really look all too engaged and, despite Jim Sturgess‘ appreciated effort, the emotional aspects and real world reflections just don’t float in a film that would have been ok (well, maybe) had the last 20 years of disaster movies not happened. Alas, they have and Geostorm is instantly forgettable, utterly ludicrous and not remotely self aware enough to work in any way, shape or form. Dull.