If you think you know what you’re getting with Geostorm, well, you’re probably right. It’s big, it’s stupid, it’s got people outrunning enormous weather events, and it’s bad in most of the ways that matter.
However, there is a big surprise in Dean Devlin’s directorial debut which is that, for the most part, it’s a ludicrous conspiracy thriller in which our heroes must figure out who’s behind a terrifying scheme to turn “Dutchboy”, the network of satellites constructed to protect us from mega-weather, into “a gun.” It’s not until the final twenty minutes or so that the tornadoes, floods and insta-icing roll out as the Geostorm draws near (a perfect storm of perfect storms that will rewrite Earth’s geography).
But that is essentially it as far as the surprises go. Geostorm absolutely exists in the realm of 90s natural disaster movies like Dante’s Peak, Volcano and every Roland Emmerich film (which Devlin produced), which means that, although you will be rolling your eyes and groaning in disbelief at the quality of the dialogue and the predictability of the plot developments, there is the a strange kind of “yesterday’s pizza” enjoyment to be had.
Still, it’s best to approach with caution. If you were sold on “Gerard Butler fights weather,” you should know that his character, Dutchboy designer, single dad and authority hater Jake Lawson, does so from the International Space Station, where he primarily tells people how to fix equipment while trying to sniff out that aforementioned conspiracy.
This means he’s going to have to learn how to communicate with his estranged brother Max (a ludicrously earnest Jim Sturgess), the White House staffer responsible for Dutchboy who’s trying to find out just how high up the conspiracy goes while keeping his relationship with Secret Service agent Sarah (Abbie Cornish, present) a secret.
It’s so hokey that Andy Garcia, playing the President of the United States, at one point shouts “I’m the goddam President of the United States!” in a line that was presumably shot before Keith David did a swearier version on Rick And Morty.
There’s bad writing, worse acting, signposted plot twists and huge CGI set-pieces that don’t feel like they’re doing anything particularly new or interesting. However, bad as it is, it’s strangely watchable, particularly if you like watching adorable dogs in disaster movie jeopardy. Finally, Atlanta’s Zazie Beetz deserves a round of applause for being the best thing in the film and landing the only intentional laughs.