Geostorm movie review: Like Gerard Butler repeatedly yelling ‘This is Science’ at your face; one of the worst films of 2017
Geostorm movie review: It’s the movie equivalent of Gerard Butler yelling ‘This is Science’ at your face, being drowned alive, and being pelted with ice all at the same time. It’s a disaster (movie).
Director - Dean Devlin
Cast - Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Jim Sturgess, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Alexandra Maria Lara, Eugenio Derbez, Daniel Wu, Robert Sheehan
Rating - 1/5
Psst. You’re going to get some inside information now, so listen close. Did you know that even with a very superficial understanding of how press previews work, you could make a fairly accurate prediction about how a movie will ultimately be received?
You did? Then feel free to skip ahead. The rest of you, gather ‘round.
Allow me to illustrate with three examples, all from 2017: Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok, and the reason behind this blatant procrastination, Geostorm.
A large part of Baby Driver’s marketing highlighted its (then) phenomenal 100% Rotten Tomatoes score. Sony premiered the film at the South by Southwest Festival, more than three months before its worldwide release. During the weeks leading up to its release, they encouraged everyone who’d seen it to talk about it online, and no embargoes were enforced on critics’ reviews. So when the time finally came for the world to watch what Wright had made, the buzz was firmly in place.
It’s been a similar story for Thor – and, you will notice, most Marvel films – which held its first press screenings two whole weeks before release day. It’s currently the highest-rated MCU movie ever, with a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes. That number will go down for sure, but the fact that it has become a talking point illustrates what I’m getting at.
Geostorm, meanwhile – let’s just get this over with – was not screened for the press in advance. The first batch of professional reviews appeared online a day after its release. If you take a look at its RT page, you’d see only a handful of them - a suspiciously small number - all presumably written by journalists who’d paid to see it.
The point being, despite what they tell you in trailers and advertisements, studios usually know exactly what they have on their hands. And in the case of Geostorm, the latest in our scheduled biannual abusive appointment with Gerard Butler, Warner Bros saw a cut back in 2015, decided it wasn’t up to the mark, had the director unceremoniously booted off the project, spent millions on reshoots, and still delivered one of the worst movies of the year.
It’s a personal rule to avoid reading/watching opinions about a film before having seen it myself, but it’s so difficult to resist a signature Mark Kermode rant. “I think it’s the stupidest film I have ever seen,” said the Observer critic, slouched on his chair with an appearance of a man forced to reconsider everything he’s believed in.
And that’s the overall emotion Geostorm leaves you with – oddly introspective. Not only does it make you question your life – why do you love movies at all, why did you waste precious moments of your youth yelling “This is Sparta” at your friends, what’ll it take to get Gerard Butler to stop – but it also makes you question things you genuinely adore.
For example, nothing in this movie is as far fetched as your average Tintin comic – but only one of them is a timeless masterpiece. And just the fact that you had this thought at all is a testament to the soul-sucking evilness of this movie.
Watching it – or more accurately, enduring it, and surviving it – will make you want to undergo an exorcism, or a lobotomy. It’ll leave you wondering if being frozen alive, or being pelted in the face with football-sized hail, or being crushed under an airliner dropping out of the sky – all honest-to-god things that happen in this movie – would be such a bad idea after all.
Without wasting much time – because, let’s be honest, most people have gone already; they saw that rating – here’s taking a stab at the insane plot: After a series of calamitous events caused by climate change, a group of international scientists lead by Jake Lawson (Butler), builds a system of satellites called ‘Dutch Boy’ designed to control weather disruptions. Soon, however, Dutch Boy is hacked into, hijacked, and weaponised. Temperatures plunge in Rio, the heavens burst open in Hong Kong, and the oceans rise in New Orleans – and this is just the beginning, Jake prophecies. It’s all leading up to an apocalyptic event, a Geostorm. Cue the dramatic music and cheesy sound effects.
It’s all utterly ridiculous, of course. But that doesn’t necessarily have to spell disaster, pun not intended. 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and Armageddon were each borne out of central ideas that were equally, if not more, outlandish as anything in Geostorm – but they’re all a blast. It’s how the filmmakers choose to treat these ideas is what really matters – the tone they take, the pacing of it, how the actors pitch their performances, and whether or not we care about the characters.
And Geostorm, for close to two agonising hours, routinely makes the wrong choices. It’s dull, too earnest for its own good, and like Gerard Butler’s 2016 gem Gods of Egypt, completely unaware of its own silliness. For God’s sake, it’s a movie in which a Scotsman, an Englishman and an Australian play Americans, an Irishman plays an Englishman, an Egyptian plays a Frenchman, and an American plays an Indian.
Watch the Geostorm trailer here