Geostorm is an abomination. It’s almost as if the ageing and out of touch head of a cable television channel such as Syfy or 5* became tired watching young talent after young talent get their scripts green lit. Deciding he could do better, he takes a week holiday to ‘let the creative juices flow’. When finished he is blinded by illusions of grandeur, thinking his script is far too good for television. He then abuses his position and friends within the industry and gets this mess of a movie made. That overzealous executive is Dean Devlin.
Dean Devlin, previously involved in such award nominated works such as 1998’s Godzilla and 2016’s Independence Day: Resurgence. Those nominations were in fact for Golden Raspberry’s and Geostorm can expect a clean sweep at the next year’s ceremony. Using his own production company, Electric Entertainment, Devlin managed to convince Warner Bros. and Skydance to both come onboard, a ruse that will surely rock both to their core. I fail to grasp how anyone at those respected companies could sit through the final cut of this film and sign off.
There was a big, red warning sign for those involved to pull the plug in the form of abysmal test screenings, but rather than cut their losses they chose to reshoot certain portions in an attempt to improve. That’s why Gerard Buttler suddenly loses his bulging muscles, only to regain them in the next scene, flip flopping as the film progresses. Despite these reshoots, there were still several baffling scenes, for example when a business man in Dubai breathes a huge sigh of relief that a tsunami didn’t cause the Burj Khalifa to collapse, only for the camera to cut back and show the towering building on a 45 degree angle.
What I find most astonishing though is the ludicrous $120 million budget, given the fact that this is essentially four episodes of a low quality tv show masquerading itself as a high quality tv show with one famous actor and some poor CGI. Judging by the shoddiness of those computerised images, Butler must have commanded a large percentage of the budget. It is evident from the start that he only came to set to collect the pay check and go home. To say that he phoned it in would frankly be an insult to all those that do phone it in like Al Pacino in almost everything this last decade.
In the pre-production period it seems the answer to any potential shooting issues or concerns was ‘let’s just green screen it’. Even scenes that take place on Earth outside of a courthouse were green screened, because directing more than three people at once was too overwhelming for Devlin. The only scenes that didn’t look fake were inside the kitchen of our protagonist Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), but even then upon a second viewing I’m quite sure I’d find something out of place.
With global warming bringing catastrophic weather events all over the world killing millions, Lawson leads 18 nations to create ‘Dutch Boy’, a net of satellites covering the Earth to control the weather by changing pressure, temperature etc. From here it’s just crossing off the boxes in your generic disaster action movie bingo card. Blatantly obvious bad guy? Check. Countdown to end of the world? Check. Copy and paste soundtrack? Check.
The only thing that’s missing is the disaster. Cinema goers who chose to go see this movie to see colossal destruction have been sold a false bill of goods. Geostorm doesn’t have a geostorm. Instead we get teased with some ironic weather events such as a heatwave in Moscow or a tsunami in Dubai. The whole appeal of a film like this or 2012 is not for good acting or plot but for damage on a worldwide scale. Without that, well, what’s the point?