Directed by Dean Devlin
By Christopher Spencer
Directed by Dean Devlin, Geostorm stars Gerard Butler as Jake Lawson, a satellite designer working on a futuristic climate-control space station designed to protect the world from natural disasters. But soon disasters worse than any Earth has faced before begin to occur, and Lawson and other designers, engineers and the President must find out who is responsible before it’s too late.
Dean Devlin has made his career as Roland Emmerich’s main producing partner and occasional co-writer, so it’s safe to say he knows his way around getting epic-scale destruction on screen. This kind of disaster appeals to some, but the genre has always been built on incredible SFX, poor characters and cliché plotting.
Is Geostorm an exception to that? Hell no. You can tell that by the trailers, and the movie itself is dumber, more cliché, more generic and just more poorly made than you might expect. But what is worse than all of that is that the disaster scenes, the epic scenarios designed to be deliciously excessive, are ass-numbingly dull.
This movie was its own disaster behind-the-scenes, having been filmed three years ago, subject to terrible test screenings in 2015, $15 million in reshoots with a different director, and countless subsequent release date changes. And the result is a movie that has some interesting production design for the space station, but CGI scenes that look no better than The Mummy Returns.
So, if the disaster scenes in a disaster movie look terrible and have nothing new to offer, what else is there? An over-plotted story made of half-baked motivations, some arriving out of nowhere, one-note characters, saccharine subplots, and a total lack of logic to just try and make an interesting movie.
Gerard Butler is kind of charming, but he’s always stuck in technobabble scenes or false melodrama, and so is every other actor. We’ve got Andy Garcia and Ed Harris showing up with nothing to do, the other co-leads are boring, most side-characters have nothing to do, and only Atlanta star and future Domino in Deadpool 2 Zazie Beetz gives some glimmers of actual comedy.
Geostorm, like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 before, should be a dumb-fun movie that you get what you pay for. But there is a severe lack of fun to be had. We can’t revel in the worldwide destruction because it looks like shit, and we never care for the main characters, so there is just nothing here. Zazie Beetz shines, but she’s better than whatever this messy, empty, cheap, unbelievably stupid movie really is. I know it sounds cliché, but Geostorm is an unmitigated disaster.