Geostorm (Cinema Review)

12A – 109mins – 2017 – 3D



Three years after top government official Max Lawson (Jim Sturgess) is forced to fire his ingenious-but-impulsive older brother, Jake (Gerard London Has Fallen Butler), from the global climate-control coalition which Jake designed, the senate beg Max to bring his bitter and estranged sibling back on board when the malfunctioning satellite station “Dutch Boy” threatens to unleash a storm of epic proportions across the Earth’s surface.

Hailstones the size of cars flip lorries over; snow storms whiten desert sands; tidal waves flash-freeze on beaches; dry countries are flooded by turbulent seas. Geostorm is a riotously dumb blockbuster in the disaster movie template. This is 2012-meets-The Day After Tomorrow with a dash of Independence Day thrown in, so it came as no shock to learn that it was the directorial debut of Roland Emmerich’s long-term producer, Dean Devlin.

As Jake blasts back into space to save humanity, one scene above all others takes the biscuit for dumbest-in-show: Earthbound Max receives a video call from his big bro, retelling an anecdote he knows is a lie. The fact that the anecdote references their dead father’s mobile phone is enough of a hint for Max to ‘decrypt’ the hidden message behind Jake’s falsehood, by reordering the words in the sequence of the long-disused telephone digits: “Dutch Boy” has been compromised by terrorists on the inside! Zazie Beetz’s cybersecurity expert mocks Max for such an ‘immature’ code, but surely for Jake to concoct and decipher such a message – as well as perfectly pace his recorded delivery to the millisecond – would have taken hours of rehearsal?!

Still, in a film where weather satellites shoot missiles into clouds, I am guessing real-world logic wasn’t the higest priority! Geostorm is a watchable-if-predictable rehash of what we have seen before – including Andy Garcia and Ed Harris in Presidential and Secretary of State roles I am certain I have seen them adopt before! Elsewhere in the recognisable cast, Robert Sheehan frustrates as a cocksure British loudmouth whose patriotism verges on the racist, while Abbie Cornish is so buttoned-up and tight-lipped as a top security guard that I spent half the movie presuming she had hidden agendas!

Image result for geostorm film posterFor all its flaws, Devlin’s debut is perfectly enjoyable in a brainless popcorn flick kinda way, but it seems like calling it Devlin’s film might be something of a misnomer, for after poor test screenings to the original edit, the film underwent MAJOR reshoots last December under Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a new writer and a new director! I can only imagine that this is where the Interstellar-aping father-daughter relationship came from, hoping to insert an emotional core into all the shallow, CG bombast.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 2 stars

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