Though completely absurd – and knowingly so – there is something depressingly pertinent about Geostorm – so much so that the premise is kickstarted in 2019, just two years from now. Often with outlandish, overtly cinematic features of this nature the narrative set-up can seem entirely implausible. Here, we’re focusing in on a story which is directly affected by global warming, adding an alarming sense of relevance to proceedings. This, however, is one of few positives to this inane blockbuster.
Needless to say things do get rather ridiculous as we progress, but the set-up is intriguing. The level of natural disasters has risen, and storms and hurricanes have caused so much damage to the planet that several cities around the world no longer exist. So step forward progressive scientist Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) who is behind the Dutch Boy Program, which consists of a worldwide net of satellites that have the ability to control the weather on Earth, and ensure the people below are safe. But when his unorthodox means of running a company lands him in trouble, he’s let go and operations are left in the hands of his younger brother Max (Jim Sturgess).
Though it’s not exactly a desirable position, for there’s evidently a malfunction in the system, and Earth may need to brace itself for a monumental worldwide storm (the titular Geostorm), and unless these two brothers can get to the bottom of this murky set of events, it’s lights out for good. It doesn’t appear to be a technological issue they’re dealing with either, as this seems to have been caused purposefully by another person – and they become engulfed in a web of deceit and corruption that leads them all the way to The White House.
As a leading action hero, Butler is a safe bet – but as a scientist left with the task of saving the future of mankind, he’s somewhat less believable. It doesn’t help that the character he has been left with feels so underwritten, but this is emblematic of a film with a distinctly lacklustre screenplay. It has that contrived means of dialogue, where when we first see Butler and Sturgess on screen together he addresses him as ‘little brother’ when people, generally, don’t really say that. He’d just call him Max, but that would mean the audience having to work out too much for themselves, and we wouldn’t want that. That said, this accessible conversation does prove to be somewhat helpful towards the end, for the technological jargon could be overwhelming, with lots of words that sound completely made up. Perhaps they are.
But the dialogue and conversation is not where this film is trying to impress – it’s within the immense set-pieces and to be fair, here the film just about gets a pass. It’s just a throwaway, absurd blockbuster and there’s little to criticise on that front. But even in spite of the sheer absurdity of it all, there is an underlying message of how inherently humanity is screwed, because really we’re all terrible people, and even when we try and do something to save the planet we still strive to destroy it. Enjoy!
Geostorm is released on October 20th.