Let’s just say…I’m not a fan of disaster films. Not that I disagree with their message (nature is merciless and humans should take better care of the planet.) But as far as a medium goes, at their best they are mediocre if not ham-fisted. At their worse they are so laughably bad that they can make the best kinds of cult-classics. In this case, Geostorm casually strolls the line of adoringly bad and atrociously godawful. It’s what happens when you get a half-way decent yet increasingly dumb idea by a producer that merely thinks he could be a screenwriter and director and an actually good cast. The fact that it currently has a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes is proof that critics can be a little too nice from time to time.
In the distant year 2019, the earth is being torn apart by tornadoes and hurricanes. Countries got together to build a weather eliminator called “Dutch Boy” to free the earth from the effects of climate change. A hurricane in Shanghai was brewing as “Dutch Boy” was being finished, so the creator, Jake Lawson (played by Gerald Butler), brought it online early to save thousands of lives. This intelligent and merciful decision caused him to get fired from the project and was replaced by his brother, Max (played by Jim Sturgess) who doesn’t seem to have any expertise in the project. Fast forward, three years later and “Dutch Boy” is malfunctioning causing storms in odd places, so Max has to get Jake’s help to fix it.
This film should be screened for film students as a perfect example of what happens when you have great actors with a terrible script and director. Dean Devlin made his film directorial debut with this unacceptable freak of nature, while also joining his screenwriting and producing credits such as 90’s Roland Emmerich films (Universal Soldier, Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla). The characters were written with the complexity and intelligence equivalent to high schoolers in a horror film. The dialogue was similar to a direct-to-TV film made for Nickelodeon, but was well acted by Gerald Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia, but it wasn’t good enough to save this abysmal excuse of a movie. Warner Bros also thought this. They filmed the movie in late 2014 into 2015, screened it in December of 2015, causing rewrites and reshoots by a different director and writer in December of 2016. After spending $120 million, they decided to call it quits and quietly release it to try to get every dollar back as possible. I’m certain they knew that they wouldn’t get much. At the moment, it’s made a shockingly high $66 million. Nothing in this film could be considered “well thought out”, even the antagonist’s motives were over-complex that could have been simplified more eloquently by kindergarteners.
Geostorm may be a fun watch with a group of friends at home with an abundance of alcohol, but it made sitting in a comfy theater chair quietly a chore. It was only an hour and 49 minutes but it was still about 15 minutes too long. A black mark on the careers of everyone evolved, including the studio and it’s viewers.