Film review by Jason Day of Geostorm, the disaster drama about a weather protection system located in space that is used to destroy the Earth. Starring Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess.
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Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) is a scientist who spearheaded the development and construction of Geostorm, a huge ‘net’ of weather controlling antennae that encircle the Earth to help the world’s people after climate change wreaked havoc on global weather patterns. The net is controlled by a space station, managed on the ground by Jake’s brother Max (Jim Sturgess) and staffed by an international team. But after one astronaut dies, Jake and Max suspect sabotage that could go to the highest level of government. Despite being sacked as the Geostorm’s lead officer, Jake sneaks back on board to investigate the ‘accidents’ that threaten to kill millions.
Jim Sturgess is a funny fella.
Acting consistently in film and TV for the past 17 years, he is nearly 40 but looks almost the same as he did when he made his debut.
He must have a portrait of himself rotting away in his attic.
Here, over earnest and unable to stop himself from emoting in a crescendo of determinedly purposeful ejaculation, he comes across like a trainee Estate Agent (as pointed out by my good friend Viv Doolan: ridiculously young, dressed in an ill-fitting suit, short spiky hair, excitable talker who never lets you get a word in edgeways) who only slightly believes the spiel he trots out about a ‘bijou’ shed going for a snip in the back garden of an abandoned nuclear power station.
Disaster movies are of course famous for featuring some incredibly duff, dull dialogue, rendered artificial by excessively serious actors. Geostorm hardly bucks the trend as there are plenty of juicy, over-ripe yet under cooked lines throughout to give actors such as Sturgess something to have a good chomp at:
There’ll be a geostorm like nothing we’ve seen before!
The script also features the obligatory, cliched disaster movie situations that are a staple of the genre, including crap romantic stories (Sturgess is having an illicit affair with Secret Service Agent Abbie Cornish…that everyone in government seems to know about), overly technical scientific babbling, a supporting child’s animal in peril, and the extended, mawkish and contradictory ‘bromance’ at the end (despite the clock-ticking on the space station self donating and thus threatening all life on Earth, Jake and Max snatch a minute of downtime to reassess, rebuild and restore their family ties).
The rest of the performances are, as in all disaster dramas, either workmanlike (Butler, Cornish), neglected (Andy Garcia, in what is an all too infrequent movie appearance these days, as a neatly mute US President) or divertingly amusing (the Geostorm station staff). Butler’s aged looks, noticeably reduced since he first hit the big time in 300 (2006), are even roasted by the supporting cast in one scene. Enough to say, one for you mate: Botox.
The effects are pretty decent, with admirably eye-and-ear-satisfying moments of cataclysm, the best being a sudden freeze on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro and a plane crashing around a terrified beach babe and, best of all, Jake’s gripping interstellar spin-out, a scene to rival Gravity (2013) but, mercifully on the reviewer’s heart, much shorter!
That being said, don’t waste your cash seeing this in 3D. Cinemas tend to charge extra for big blockbusters or films shown in 3D (in some areas of the UK, the price for a family to take a trip to the cinema has risen by 47% over the past decade) and I saw Geostorm in 3D. It was a waste of money. The 3D was fuzzy and had no depth to it (in one scene, wheat that should have rippled out at the audience appeared out of focus and had me taking off my 3D specs to try and enjoy that part of the film). See it in 2D, the effects won’t be lost on your ‘mainstream’ eyes.
One thing I will say to conclude this review. and it’s more of an old man railing against modern life than a criticism of this film, but Geostorm highlighted for me how far the world has moved culturally in such a short time.
Just a couple of decades of ago, people investigated wrong-doings by reading books or newspapers, looking at a microfiche (Jesus, does anyone know what they are?!), or speaking to or listening to people. In Geostorm (and right back to the likes of Minority Report ) people download or upload things, they use holographic screens.
Anyway, old man rant finished! For some top-notch, thrilling b*llocks, get thee to a cinema for some Geostorm. Remove thy brain and enjoy!
For more, see the official Geostorm website.
Cast & credits
Director: Dean Devlin. 109mins. Electric Entertainment/Skydance/Stereo D/Warner Bros. (12a)
Producers: Dean Devlin, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg.
Writers: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot.
Camera: Roberto Schaefer.
Music: Lorne Balfe.
Sets: Kirk M. Petruccelli.
Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia, Zazie Beetz, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Adepero Oduye, Robert Sheehan, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Mare Winningham.