Geostorm

Oh, well; best to begin at the beginning. Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) is a meteorological expert who leads a team to build a network of satellites informally named “Dutch Boy”, which can neutralise adverse weather conditions. Being played by Butler, Lawson is obviously an arrogant rogue with heroic instincts, and is fired from his position managing the station for brazenness. Three years later a series of “malfunctions” occur, including a village in Afghanistan being frozen and all of its inhabitants being killed. He is asked to investigate.

If you’ve seen any of the marketing for Geostorm, you will have seen cities crack and topple, burst into flames, be overwhelmed by waves, or met with a creeping cloud of freezing air which moves like liquid nitrogen. You may well be quite intrigued. Bad news: nothing is photographed intelligently. One early scene between Jake and his brother Max (Jim Sturgess), who are simply having a conversation, is made incomprehensible as the camera movements and editing are entirely arbitrary. So, when the ‘extreme weather events’ begin, nothing whatsoever is intelligible.

This is made all the worse by the magnificently ropey Computer Generated (CG) work. In one scene, a lightning-storm is pulsating through Florida during the Democratic National Convention. One of the badly CG bolts hits the stadium in which the convention is taking place, and it actually explodes! It’s a moment of throat-aching, honk-out-loud hilarity.

While I know performances aren’t the main pull for modern disaster movies, it’s worth mentioning how teeth-gratingly poor they are here. Even the bit-parts on the space station are embarrassing; supposed experts in their fields bark calamities at each other to keep the audience up-to-date on how doomed the world is.

Butler, sporting the worst American accent ever voiced, overacts every moment of his screentime. Sturgess strains to deliver even the least hideous of platitudes. Andy García, as President Palma, and Ed Harris as Vice-President Dekkom, look mortified for being part of this. The only notes of grace come from Zazie Beetz and Abbie Cornish, who do their best with a tone-deaf script.

Geostorm affects to have serious concerns about the climate, but this is comprehensively forgotten amid the film’s ugliness and monumental stupidity; which includes an actual ‘countdown to Geostorm’ timer, and a last minute plot detour ripped right from The I.T. Crowd, involving turning the station off and on again. It’s a profound waste of your time.

Film reviewed at Cineworld, Edinburgh.

Image: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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