Geostorm movie review: The worst weather-related disaster since Hurricane Irma
For well over a decade now, Al Gore has travelled the globe warning anyone willing to listen that climate change will destroy the world. However, one criticism of Gore's message is that it isn't loud enough. In today's world, where news is tantamount to screaming and sensationalism is the only way of getting attention, perhaps the world needs a slightly more radical message. Enter Geostorm.
Geostorm seeks to build on the very real fear of climate change, and it does leave the viewer shaken by the end. After all, one worries as they leave the hall, if we don't fix this climate change problem, we're doomed to suffer more cliché-ridden snoozefests like Geostorm. If this fear alone doesn't make you switch to CFL bulbs, sell your car, and buy a cycle, we might as well just get beach body ready and brace for rising ocean levels.
The movie is set in 2019, where climate change has led to a world rife with extreme weather phenomenon. We're not talking three cyclones in a year, a la 2017, but tornado clusters, super-tsunamis, and similarly OTT events.
In response, the worlds best scientists band together to create a network of satellites able to reverse these phenomenon. Shit hits the proverbial fan, however, when the satellite network is compromised, leading to weather attacks on cities across the globe.
With a geostorm – a co-ordinated series of extreme weather events across the globe – about to destroy the world, humanity's best hope is the man who invented the satellite network: Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler). Together with his brother Max (Jim Sturgess) and Max's incredibly trusting secret agent girlfriend (Abbie Cornish), they race against time to save the world.
Can we go home now?
Let's be honest – no one really goes to disaster movies for the plot. What actually draws the audience is the chance to see the world we live in destroyed, iconic landmarks uprooted, and cities levelled. The makers of Geostorm knew this, which is why the trailer for the movie was packed with shots of extreme weather phenomenon wreaking havoc. The only problem is, we've seen it all before.
Extreme cold wave freezing things, check. Roads collapsing due to eruptions of fire, check. Incredible hailstorms, check. Massive tornadoes, check. Every major extreme weather phenomenon Geostorm depicts has been done before, and done better. And it was still novel in all those movies. For Geostorm to compete, the CGI needed to be out of this world. It simply isn't.
With the CGI underwhelming, the plot and acting, perhaps unfairly for a disaster movie, come under scrutiny. This is where things get really ugly.
The plot is absolute nonsense, with a conspiracy so small-minded and idiotic it is predictable at every turn. Characters are set up with so little imagination and effort you'd think the studio placed an embargo on creativity. The final twist, if we're being generous with terminology, is given away by the casting, let alone the abysmal plot.
The movie also desperately shoehorns corny one-liners into scenes that should otherwise have been serious in a poorly judged attempt to give the movie something extra.
Almost as if to draw attention away from everything else that is wrong with the movie, the lead trio of Butler, Sturgess and Cornish conspire brilliantly to turn in mediocre performances. Sure, their characters are all pretty poorly written and developed, but even that is no excuse for just how little they do.
Should you see it?
I dunno, you've read the review, should you?