Of all types of movies, “disaster” movies are easily my biggest guilty pleasure. Watching cities fall due to fires, floods, earthquakes, alien invasions, meteors, volcanoes, global warning and hurricanes is always a good time. I am well aware that more often than not these movies actually aren’t very good, but as long as they contain a good deal of destruction and don’t take themselves too seriously, I’m usually guaranteed to have a good time. Geostorm, the newest disaster film to hit cinemas, had my interest from the first trailer. Unfortunately, the biggest disaster involving this movie is the movie itself.
In the not very distant future, the world has come together and created a huge network of satellites that can prevent all types of natural disasters. Lead developer Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) has found himself removed from the project and is replaced by his younger brother Max (Jim Sturgess). A couple of years after being forced out, Jake is asked to return to help solve a huge problem. It seems the satellites are malfunctioning, and are creating strange events (ie. a deep freeze in Afghanistan) around the world that are killing many people. It doesn’t take long before they figure out that somehow the entire network has been compromised by a hacker, and it won’t be long before a worldwide cataclysmic event called a geostorm will put an end to almost the entire population of earth. The brothers, along with Max’s girlfriend/secret service agent Sarah Wilson (Abbie Cornish) have to keep their discovery a secret while trying to prevent an extinction level event.
As expected with this type of film, everthing else is secondary to spectacle. Unfortunately, there is very little actual spectacle to be seen. For a disaster flick, there is almost no disaster on screen. The scenes of destruction are few and far between, and those we do see are incredibly brief. In fact, there was only one section of the movie that had any genuine excitement. The bigger issue is that these few scenes would have been acceptable if they actually looked decent. When a movie costs well over $100 million to produce, I’d expect to see some of that on the screen. The effects we see are some of the worst CGI to be seen this side of the Syfy network. I half expected a sharknado to show up at some point. Geostorm may be the cheapest looking big budget movie I have seen in years. It almost seems like it wasn’t finished.
Another problem is that the movie is criminally boring. If the producers had intended to keep much of the disaster stuff off screen, they could have at least padded the remainder of the movie with a decent story. While the plot is somewhat complicated for this type of movie, they don’t do enough with it to keep it going. There’s never any real suspense as to what will happen, and I can guarantee you’ll figure out who the “bad guy” is within the first 20 minutes. The three leads also don’t have enough charisma to carry the movie on their shoulders. Normally I’d say that the supporting cast can pick up the slack, especially when it contains reliable actors such as Andy Garcia and Ed Harris. Yet, even they aren’t given enough to do and can’t help with the boredom.
Normally I try and find at least one redeemable quality in any movie, no matter how bad. All I can come up with is that I guess Geostorm isn’t the worst movie to be released in 2017 (it can thank mother! and CHiPs for that). As I said earlier, the only things I need in a disaster movie are actual disasters and some excitement, and Geostorm provides neither. It easily ranks among one of the worst disaster movies I’ve ever seen.
FINAL GRADE: D-