Geostorm clearly won’t be to everyone’s taste but for pure escapist fun it delivers in spades. It has a great cast, some interesting set-pieces and it takes place on Earth AND Space! It’s two for one fun for a disaster flick that borrows from every other, but still manages to deliver a popcorn-munching matinee that has a few choice surprises.
Geostorm is a film that was made in the wrong decade. This is a 90s disaster movie in the same mould as Deep Impact, Dante’s Peak, Volcano, Godzilla and Independence Day (the latter two being written by Geostorm’s director Dean Devlin). It would have been much better received in that era. The shoot was a troubled one, having been subject to costly re-edits, numerous drafts and extra scenes, each inflating the budget even more. The unfortunate timing of the release also married up to some of the most devastating real-life storms to ever hit the world. With ad campaigns understandably pulled to be sensitive to the victims, Geostorm didn’t even get a proper promotional push which has resulted in poor box-office returns.
So sitting on the shelf for awhile, Geostorm now arrives with Gerard Butler leading the line as Jake Lawson, a brilliant mind and the architect of a weather-controlling system named Dutch Boy (?) which saved our planet when natural disasters threatened to wipe out mankind. Now a glitch in the system has turned Dutch Boy into a weapon. Having been booted off the project some time ago by his younger brother Max (Jim Sturgess), Jake reluctantly comes back into the fold and leads a team of scientists to uncover what’s really going on, and in the process save the planet once again.
The film’s premise is functional and gets to the point relatively quickly, leaving you to bathe in the spectacle. A lot of it is CGI as you would expect, but it generates some edge-of-your-seat tension all the same. The real success lies in the brother-dynamic between Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess. Both take their roles seriously and I really enjoyed seeing them onscreen together. Butler and Talitha Eliana Bateman also conjure up some nice chemistry as father and daughter, with Bateman once again delivering a great supporting turn after her stellar performance in Annabelle: Creation.
There’s some shaky dialogue and some cartoonish characters throughout the film, and the antagonist is so obvious that the character might as well have just been wearing a cowbell with pointing arrows. But the ensemble does have their moments. Abbie Cornish is fine as Max’s secret service, secret girlfriend Sarah, Alexandra Maria Lara is always watchable and no one phones in a role quite like Andy Garcia, this time as President Andrew Palma. Ed Harris and Robert Sheehan were wasted though.
I’m not sure how a project like this got the greenlight with such a massive budget, but Geostorm still isn’t as bad as reports suggest, even if it is out of touch with more modern viewing trends. If you can leave logic at the door, you’ll enjoy the ride a lot more. The Earth sequences are solid but the Space Station section is what I enjoyed most. This certainly delivered for escapist fun and if you are looking for a nice break from the usual high-brow fare, Geostorm dutifully obliges.
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Amr Waked, Adepero Oduye, Robert Sheehan, Richard Schiff, Zazie Beetz, Talitha Eliana Bateman Director: Dean Devlin Writer: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot Released By: Warner Bros Certificate: 12 Duration: 109 mins Release Date: 19th February 2018