Dir: Dean Devlin
Even the time in which Geostorm is set is patently ludicrous. In the future, the nations of the world have come together to construct a globe-spanning network of weather satellites to protect against climate change. They’ve managed this phenomenal advance …by 2019. It might as well be set next Tuesday. It’ll probably take the Brexit negotiators at least a decade just to finish arguing over the bill. But a planet-sized exoskeleton of gigantic meteorological space tech? That can be chucked into the sky in …ooh, a year and a bit?
So, even from the introductory caption setting the date, you know that every single aspect of this hot guff is abject nonsense. Talking of which, saviour of London Has Fallen (2016), Gerard Butler is the hero who designed this planet-saving air-conditioning unit. By his own rules, of course. He’s a maverick. He’s a geezer. But Geezer Butler is also a bit of a dick. He doesn’t get on with his brother (Jim Sturgess), the man put in charge of investigating the satellites’ recent spate of malfunctions. Malfunctions that see entire Saharan villages frozen like icing sugar overnight, and the cracking earth’s crust threaten to swallow Chinese cities whole. Such is bro’s disdain, Butler gets sacked from the very project he founded, to carry on his life of maverick arseholery in a caravan by the coast, well out of harm’s way. But, whaddyaknow, when they need someone to rocket to space to have a tinker with the settings of “Dutch Boy”, as it’s bizarrely called, there’s only one guy for the job. The Geezer that built it.
[PLOT… er, ‘SPOILERS’ AHEAD!]
All of the acting appears to be uniformly dreadful. There I was assuming it was beyond human capacity to give such a twaddle-by-numbers script any scrap of authenticity. But then 13-year old Talitha Bateman (as Butler’s daughter), by conjuring a glimpse of genuine feeling, acts every single adult clean off the screen. As if to compound an anti-UK sentiment that sees the British lead duo playing American, Butler is greeted by a monstrous London-boy stereotype the second he arrives. Robert Sheehan is so immediately up in his grill with the most cartoonish cockerney accent, you just want him punched. Pleasingly, that doesn’t take too long (perhaps the film’s only moment of satisfaction). Predictably, there’s something more pernicious afoot than just a few technological gremlins. But the fact is so heavily telegraphed by the culprit being so eye-bleedingly obvious, any potential for suspense simply plummets dead out of the sky.
This is an ill-begotten attempt at an XXL conglomeration of every natural disaster movie ever, condensed into one massive phooey typhoon. Thus it ‘channels’ Armageddon (1998), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 2012 (2009)… I’m getting confused by dates now. And in some administrative cock-up of which genre it’s ripping off, even Gravity (2013) is in there. Its premise boils the issue of climate change down into something that can be fixed in a jiffy by one person. Let alone for that person to be a belligerent barking burke. Consider the plot for one moment (presumably you’re not supposed to), and its gargantuan idiocy rains down. Someone is engineering global ‘geostorm’ so they can wipe out the President in order to take his place. The only teensie-weensie downside is that they’re wiping out all of humanity in the process. INCLUDING THEMSELVES. But don’t fret, Geezer’s here to avert it. And his dastardly fix does actually appear to be the stereotypical I.T. solution. Yes… turning it off and turning it on again.
This is a film perfectly suited to Trump’s idiocracy. And Butler makes a fine figurehead for such dim-witted dross. It feels it necessary to throw everything – the world burning – at the cinema frame in the hope of scraping young people’s eyes away from their mobile screens. This is where we are. Vainly trying to compete with the internet, ‘traditional’ entertainment is so preposterously maxxed out that it beats away at the intellect by way of a thank you. You can actually feel your intelligence being depleted by this cascading avalanche of dumb.
Geostorm deserves its own global warning. It’s a totem of humanity’s decline as we stumble onwards under the blinkered illusion of smart ‘progress’. For the sake of the children, your children, batten down the hatches and protect yourself from this torrential deluge.
*One star due to Talitha Bateman’s performance. And the clichéd dog-who-gets-separated-from-his-owner-in-the-panic is quite cute.