Environmental disaster movies have been prescient in Hollywood since The Day After Tomorrow in 2004, when climate change was becoming one of the most important issues in modern times. Deathly hailstorms, waves the height of skyscrapers, hurricanes leaving nothing but destruction – nature fighting back with a fury.
But in Dean Devlin’s $120 million debut, a system of satellites operated by a large space station (collectively named “Dutch Boy”) relieves the world of such extreme weather conditions. After a time of equilibrium, Dutch Boy begins to malfunction – permitting violent weather to sweep the world into disaster. Only the station’s architect, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), can fly up and stop it.
Any movie trailer featuring Gerard Butler is always followed with dismissive chuckles. He is the face of the terrible action movie, a Tom Cruise for the tasteless. Butler’s a good actor, but he’s stuck in a thick swamp of mediocre moviemaking. Geostorm continues his underwhelming streak, following the usual pattern of reluctant hero, shifty authority figures, and a script with countless flaws. Devlin doesn’t even have fun within the silliness – the CGI is funnier than the jokes, which feel shoehorned into the dialogue. The conflict between the depthless characters isn’t explored to its full potential, not even half its potential, and the resolutions are too easy and unconvincing.
There are some nice, unforced political messages about international relations and climate change. Geostorm does scrape at sentimentality, but never makes the viewer feel queasy (that’s a job for the special effects). The best moments are when Butler, in his typical roguish attitude, berates politicians about the ill-informed notions of American dominance – away from the tedium of God Bless America. But these moments eventually expire to make way for vast and disappointing displays of computerised destruction.
Geostorm is a little better than average, and its 109-minute running time maintains its status as a minor inconvenience. But it’s still another poor action movie starring Gerard Butler – nectar for guilty pleasure-seekers, bile for everyone else.
Geostorm is released nationwide on 20th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for Geostorm here: