Geostorm: A disaster film indeed
The special effects do not save this movie from its underwhelming writing
It has been 21 years since Independence Day got released. You may remember that as the launchpad for Roland Emmerich, who's since become somewhat of an expert on making disaster films. Roland shared writing credits of Independence Day with one, Dean Devlin, who has also written for two more Emmerich films, including the less-than-stellar Independence Day: Resurgence. Geostorm marks Devlin's directorial debut, and I really don't think it is too much to expect that the film will have some, if not all, of what made some of his previous collaborations with Roland work. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia, Abbie Cornish
Director: Dean Devlin
Climate change has a lot of deniers, who often believe it's all the handiwork of a higher power. What if this power were instead the result of a few humans who, in seeking to control climate and prevent disasters, build an international space station with a safety net of multiple satellites all across the globe? This space station, codenamed Dutch Boy, is built by Jake Wilson (Gerard Butler, who can't be bothered to wake up for this role), in collaboration with 19 other countries which, apparently, is something unprecedented. A man-made God now controls the world climate. But what happens when the one built to protect you, is the one that ends up killing you? That is what Geostorm is about. Sadly, the writing, which could have answered that question in myriad ways, lets the film down.
A severely underwritten sibling rivalry between Jake and his brother Max Wilson (Jim Sturgess) also distracts you from the main story, which tries to be a race-against-time thriller about malfunctioning satellites. We are shown glimpses of what could happen if the satellites malfunction with a flash snowstorm in the middle of a desert in Afghanistan, a tsunami that eats up Dubai, and snow melting off the top of the Kremlin. There is also a wonderful sequence in the space when Jake's suit malfunctions, and for those five minutes, we are taken back to the delightful docking sequence in Interstellar. Unfortunately, these moments are isolated, and there is little momentum built for the final showdown that is crucial for such a film. Disaster films work best when there is an emotional anchor for the audience but there is none here. Oh, and the less said about the 'reveal' behind the malfunctioning satellites, the better.
The story of the Dutch Boy is about one who plugged his hand in the dyke to save thousands of villagers dying. The film's story fails to do that in Geostorm. Let me, at least, take on the role here and plug your wallets.