‘Geostorm’ is a thunderous mess

As expected, the storm isn't this film's only catastrophe

There’s something to be said for big budget, CGI driven films highlighting how human ignorance is leading to the destruction of the world. They explore big ideas through ridiculous circumstances and often their only saving grace is that they are sometimes fun flicks. “Geostorm” is all of the big ideas and nonsense of the genre, but none of the fun.

“Geostorm,” directed by Dean Devlin, explores a future where human’s impact upon the Earth through global warming has lead to the creation of super storms that lead to loss of life in the hundreds of thousands. Enter Jake Lawson, played by Gerard Butler, whose idea to create a series of satellites to combat and control the Earth’s weather is our saving grace. 

After being fired by his brother Max, Jim Sturgess, for refusing to listen to authority, Lawson is resigns himself to a life of fixing cars as close as he can to NASA. However, when an unknown entity sabotages the satellites, Jake may just be the Earth’s only hope.

Watching this movie, no one can say that the film doesn’t explore some smart themes. Government sabotage, political gain overshadowing loss of life, and treating the planet fairly are all-important ideas to explore. It’s just too bad the film doesn’t think its audience is smart enough to understand them. 

From minute one the film breaks the golden rule of excellent storytelling: show don’t tell. Flat lines of dialogue from Jake’s daughter Hannah, played by Talitha Eliana Bateman, immediately set the stage for what will be an even flatter movie. 

“We did this to our selves. Global warming... My dad created Dutch Boy to save us,” and more stale dialogue plague the opening minutes of this film instead of plopping the audience right into the thick of it, allowing us to discover Dutch Boy and its past for ourselves. 


The movie is riddled with this bland explanative dialogue from beginning to end. 

On top of that, the film repeatedly beats its audience over the head with its not-so-subliminal messaging about political greed and government oversight. It serves as the B plot between the Lawson brothers' distrust of one another — as one belongs to the government and one just wants to save people and while it isn’t terrible, it certainly could’ve been done better.

Speaking of doing things better, let’s talk about the acting. There barely is any.

The film’s best actor may be Bateman, apart from her intro/outro dialogue. Crying on command and then commanding the screen through quick wit and apparent emotional depth, it’s hard not to like her. It is truly difficult to like anyone else.

Butler for instance, plays the same man he does in most of his action flicks. Bland, irritated, smartest guy in the room suaveness exudes out of his every pore and it is boring. His brother is less so interesting. Never in the 109-minute runtime do his emotional moments land or feel genuine. Even the cute moments between him and his fiancé feel stale and distant. 

The film’s only saving grace, and possible reason why people will watch this film, is for the excellent CGI and action. As a fan of space flicks and people having to combat the challenges that presents, I felt the film did a great job both aesthetically and in execution. It's just too bad the performances don’t feel powerful enough to really entice.

“Geostorm” hits all of the targets that its disaster movie predecessors laid before it. Grand scale destruction, a uniting of peoples and no small amount of not-so-subliminal messaging fill the screen. While bold in idea and scope, the film just doesn’t deliver in story and instead is 109 minutes of being hand-held and bottle-fed.

Overall score: 1/5

“Geostorm” is rated PG-13 and is in theaters now. 


Reach the reporter at Owen.Baldner@asu.edu or follow @BaldnerOwen on Twitter.

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