Main cast: Gerard Butler (Jake Lawson), Jim Sturgess (Max Lawson), Abbie Cornish (Sarah Wilson), Alexandra Maria Lara (Ute Fassbender), Zazie Beetz (Dana), Richard Schiff (Senator Thomas Cross), Daniel Wu (Cheng), Robert Sheehan (Duncan), Eugenio Derbez (Hernandez), Adepero Oduye (Adisa), Amr Waked (Dussette), Talitha Bateman (Hannah Lawson), Mare Winningham (Dr Jennings), Andy Garcia (US President Andrew Palma), and Ed Harris (US Secretary of State Leonard Dekkom)
Director: Dean Devlin
Remember that horribly cheesy meteor movie Armageddon from 1998? It was so toe-curlingly bad that it ends up the epitome of an unintentional comedy. From the awkwardly inserted singing before take-off to bizarre action drama moments that stretch the movie rather than adding to it, that movie was one of those things best enjoyed with liberal amount of alcohol. Now, take that movie, strip off the corny fun moments, and you will get Geostorm.
This movie, which had been delayed in being release a few times now (always a bad sign), is a hybrid of disaster flick and some sci-fi action thriller. Humans had let world gone to the dogs due to rampant pollution, et cetera – ice caps melting, some Asian cities get flooded, et cetera – and shortly after the US and the China (of course) led an international team of scientists to construct a powerful network of satellites to stabilize the weather. Named Dutch Boy, the main International Climate Space Station is arguably the most important thing in the world, and when the movie opens, the US will hand over the maintenance duties of Dutch Boy to the international community. Because, you know, letting everything be done by an international committee is always a great idea – look at how proactive and useful the United Nations is!
Jake Lawson is the head engineer that oversaw the building of the Dutch Boy, but he soon clashed with US politicians that wanted to turn Dutch Boy into a political chess piece to gain votes and such. He was soon fired and replaced by his more responsible younger brother Max. However, Max will have to call Jake back up to Dutch Boy when things apparently malfunctioned and caused some people in Afghanistan to become frozen. Jake and the Dutch Boy commander Ute Fassbender will soon uncover evidence that Dutch Boy is being sabotaged, while down in Earth, Max and his fiancée Sarah (a US Secret Service lady) find clues that the US President himself may be behind a plot to weaponize Dutch Boy into a weapon of mass destruction. Oh boy.
Geostorm is almost hilarious in how it desperately incorporates every element from better movies, only to botch them up later. Jake has the usual creepy, loathsome, unnaturally clingy. precocious daughter who speaks like an adult pretending to be a very young kid, and Hannah for some reason gets to narrate things at the beginning and the end of the movie despite having nothing to do at all with the entire plot. A crew is introduced in Dutch Boy, all looking badass, only to be relegated to one-scene wonders. This may be a good thing considering that Duncan is easily the most obnoxious thing in this movie, discounting Hannah the pint-sized breathy horror. Jake and Max have perfunctory family issues that get resolved with a hug, despite the fact that Jake remains a self-absorbed douchebag to the very end. Ute is turned into a damsel in distress sidekick the moment she appears on screen, making me think, “No wonder Dutch Boy is screwed up, with this passive, curiously ineffective person in charge.” Ute’s foil is Sarah, who becomes a terminator-mode robot with super aim skills by the time to movie lumbers into its final act, although she is still a dumb dumb that depends entirely on a man like Max to make all the important decisions for them both.
The disaster scenes are badly done that it’s like these people ran out of money halfway through production and had to replace their CGI crew with cheap freelancers they hired from India or the Philippines – explosions can happen with people around them being bewilderingly unaffected by impact, heat, flying shrapnel, or whatever; people can outrun tsunamis and more; the throng of people fleeing waves and what not miraculously vanish when the scene zooms out to show buildings collapsing in dramatic slow motion; et cetera. This is one movie where the green screen is obvious that they may as just keep it in altogether and the movie may seem more real as a result. Also, the portrayals of third world countries are cheerfully stereotypical: people in India and Middle-East are still riding camels and living in mud houses, of course Tokyo gets blown to pieces yet another in another disaster movie, every international disaster begins in an Asian city, US for the most part curiously remains the last country to be touched by such things, et cetera.
Geostorm is a big, dumb movie starring basically a bunch of recognizable names who have been box office poison for so long that they have no choice but to lower themselves like this (Gerard Butler, Andy Garcia), or they have nothing to lose by appearing in this one (Ed Harris), while the rest of the cast are middling to no name types that also have nothing to lose by showing up here for a paycheck. Implausible physics and badly done special effects are everywhere, the characters are joyless stereotypes, and many things here will remind the audience of far better movies that it borrows heavily from. If you want to watch this, try to do so while paying as little money as possible, as there’s a high chance you’d feel ripped off regardless of how much you’ve plonked down for it.