Overview: Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess fight satellites that control the weather. Warner Bros. Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 109 minutes.
Geostorms? In this economy?: I am a man of simple tastes. I like my Gerard Butler-starring action movies to be dumb and efficient, even if others think they’re a waste of time. I’ll go watch Gerard Butler starring in problematic action movies as long as he stabs a dude in the head at some point. The manner of making it doesn’t influence my reaction as much as what is in front of me. All things considered, there is no logical reason why Geostorm shouldn’t be the best, worst, or simultaneously the best and worst movie ever made. It ends up falling toward the back half of misguided, even as a disaster romp (the real world is far more terrifying at the moment) before stumbling into all-timer so-bad-it’s good territory.
It’s like fast food. Is it healthy to go to my local Tommy Burgers and order a mountain of chili cheese fries with extra chili? No. But I know what I am. I am here to shovel drivel into my face because it is 2017 and I know what I want. Still, there needs to be a proper cooking method to garbage food that is meant to satisfy even the oddest cravings. A slapdash attempt at reinvigorating the disaster movie genre with machismo bravado, for the majority of its runtime, Geostorm is partially undercooked and underdeveloped.
Tragically, there are only small portions of the film that actually involve the event of a geostorm. Instead, we follow a conspiracy narrative that oddly attempts to adhere to some semblance of reality. The anti-weather disaster satellites have already been placed in space with a series of satellites under the title “Dutch Boy.” Dutch Boy is now being used as a weapon and for political nefariousness.
The threat of the Geostorm would be enough after establishing the catastrophic damage Dutch Boy could do to the planet, where tension would slowly build with the mere possibility of further carnage. To its credit, the idea of melding a mystery while leading into a grander scope isn’t a terrible one. That would also require a movie far less dumb than Geostorm. But we’re not here for moral righteousness or dastardly scheming. Geostorm promised frozen deserts, tornadoes in cities and Gerard Butler fighting the weather.
Forget it, Jake. It’s Geostorm: While its pace is far too plodding without ever framing characters to earn stakes, the ensemble all put in work required of them, plus a little extra. With a sprawling cast including Jim Sturgess, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Abbie Cornish, Zazie Beetz, Daniel Wu that Geostorm doesn’t exactly need, the starpower might feel like overkill. But one does not simply fight Geostorm. Humanity can only embrace the disaster and the beacons of light within. So yeah, the cast is all solid and all know exactly what genre they’re playing in. Zazie Beetz and Jim Sturgess in particular have great chemistry together.
The film is led by Gerard Butler (Gerry B!), who sadly has no onslaught of stabbing sequences here. Butler plays Jake Lawson, a satellite designer whose life’s work is in Dutch Boy. He mourns his passionate gift to humanity is being used to possibly end it. At times, the movie borders on social and economical commentary with Jake Lawson questioning those in charge and the nature of people with access to such power. Thankfully, the film’s final action sequences allow Butler to enter Gravity by way of Roland Emmerich, where there is no time for calculated meditation on how we treat the planet. Calm down, James Cameron. This is Geostorm.
One Boy, Two Boy, Dutch Boy…Geostorm: Once Geostorm stops pretending to be a real movie, forsaking coherence for a complete disparage of humanity via special effects, it launches head first into the glorious excess it should have been from the start. Brain cells have no place in the final act of Geostorm. This isn’t a call to shut your brain off—that is a reductive, back-handed comment anyways—but rather to embrace the vortex of garbage.
Geostorm is a product of delayed nostalgia for a certain type of movie audiences no longer have interest in. It’s the furthest thing from a well-made blockbuster, furthering itself down an IQ rabbit hole until we hit every negative number on the way down, before finally landing on its feet and realizing it hasn’t landed at all. We’ve been launched into space, driving backwards, shooting at henchmen while weather destroys our perception of reality and society. It’s a sloppy joe serving of America’s greatest cinematic commodity: excess.
It’s like eating raw cookie dough. “Don’t eat too much, you’ll get a stomach ache,” says the wise Doctor. What the hell do doctors know? They’re nerds! I’m here for Geostorm. What’s that? I’m mixing metaphors? Sorry, Geostorm doesn’t care what you think. It’s Geostorm.
Overall: Geostorm doesn’t really work. Even when it does, it feels almost accidental. That won’t stop some audiences from having a good time anyways as long as everyone knows what they’re in for. It’s not a hearty recommendation, but for those with a craving for cinematic junk food, Geostorm is worth shoving into your face.
Featured Image: Warner Bros. Pictures