Review by Gordon Justesen
Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio
Derbez, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia
Director: Dean Devlin
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Aanamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 109 Minutes
Release Date: January 23, 2018
“Does Gerard Butler have a massive student loan or something? Is that why he does all these sh*t films?” - Gerard Butler reading a mean tweet about himself on Jimmy Kimmel Live
To be fair, nobody ever expects disaster movies to be of top flight quality. And following the likes of 2012 (which for me is the end all, be all disaster movie), no future offering in the genre is going to deliver as high a spectacle. And yet, it seems as though the makers of Geostorm were fully aware of these notions and said to themselves, “let’s take this down a few thousand notches”.
Being that the director here is Dean Devlin, who served as a producer on some of director Roland Emmerich’s visual effects epics such as Independence Day and Stargate, you would probably expect an effort from a guy who knew what he was doing (Devlin also serves as co-writer here). But in the end, he managed to make a disaster movie that has the grand distinction of making Armageddon and The Core look like major Oscar contenders.
The setup is this; in the near future, climate change has gotten so out of hand that many of Earth’s governments banded together to create a satellite system that would control the weather. Oh, and they named the system “Dutch Boy”. Pause now for inevitable laughter.
The man behind the development of the satellite is one Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler). After being summoned to a congressional hearing for an incident involving insubordination (don’t ask), Jake is fired from his duties by no less than his younger brother, Max (Jim Sturgess). But then soon after this, old Dutch Boy starts to seriously malfunction...so guess who they have to recruit to send in to outer space to fix it?
There isn’t a single intelligent thing going on in this movie’s brain, and yet the movie keeps finding ways to become even dumber every 15 to 20 minutes. Such examples include a half-baked attempt at establishing a saboteur amongst the space crew that Jake works alongside in space. This space station, by the way, is littered with firearms. Why this is is an extremely good question.
But the most laughable of all the goings on here is the devious plot hatched by a traitor within the U.S. government who, without giving away who that is (because, by all means please see this movie), is the one behind the hacking of Dutch Boy and the releasing of all the destructive weather. His plot is to take out the President (Andy Garcia), along with all of those in the line of succession at the Democratic National Convention in Florida by way of whichever disastrous method of weather hits said location, so that he can successfully become President. Call me crazy, but there might have been an easier way to do this instead of resorting to an effort that even your basic maniacal Bond villain would question.
Even if you’re going to this movie for the special effects, you’ll more than likely be disappointed not just by the quality of them (the visuals in 1996's Independence Day look way better by comparison) but by the fact that all of the disaster stuff really doesn’t kick in until about halfway through the movie, which is only an hour and fifty minutes long. The only really good effects we get here are in the sequences involving Jake floating outside the space station, which themselves look like rejected bits from Gravity.
I will give the movie this, it does establish a nice international cast. The space station crew, especially, is made up of different ethnicities that aren’t reduced to overblown stereotypes. But at the same time, the movie wastes its cast, though I think it’s safe to say that we aren’t expecting much better from Gerard Butler at this point.
Geostorm can best be viewed as a so bad it’s good exercise, but at the same time there have been much better disaster movies which is a genre that’s never really striving to be good in the first place. If you like an extra helping of dumb, though, I can’t say you will go wrong here.
Though I’ve criticized the no-so special effects of this movie, the video presentation on this Blu-ray release from Warner is definitely top of the line. Colors are bright and pop right off the screen, and the effects sequences do look as awesome as they possibly can. The sequences in outer space definitely come off as the best looking in the entire presentation.
Really no surprise here, as disaster movies always know how to rock a good surround sound system. The DTS HD mix here gets the ball rolling almost immediately. Even though the disaster stuff comes way late in the movie, it does provide awesome sound quality for the outer space setting, and delivers top notch work with dialogue and music playback. Basically, the last half of the movie is an endless parade of loud effects and destruction that will give your system a very good working!
We get three very brief featurettes on this Blu-ray release, and I do stress the word “brief”. They include “Search For Answers”, which includes an interview with director Dean Devlin, “An International Event”, detailing the international cast for the movie, and “Wreaking Havoc”, which looks at the technology used for the effects sequences.
It’s been a while since I’ve gleefully trashed a movie on this site, and in that regard, Geostorm certainly gave me plenty to work with. Unless your dying to give yourself a Mystery Science Theater 3000 type experience, you’re much better off re-watching 2012 or any of the better offerings in this genre.