Every now and again a movie comes along with an interesting idea and poor execution. Sometimes a movie comes around with a bad idea but a good enough execution to at least be interesting.
Unfortunately, Geostorm falls into the rare category of a movie with a bad idea and bad execution.
Geostorm takes place sometime in the near future, the exact year is not made clear but my best guess is that it’s 2024 so let’s go with that. The basic idea is that in the year 2019 climate change finally comes to a head and “extreme weather” is now an issue the Earth must deal with. What is extreme weather? Well, unfortunately as with many things in Geostorm the movie does not make that clear. Extreme weather just seems to be weather but extreme! Basically, tornados, floods, and heat waves taking out major cities all around the world and killing millions of people.
As a quick side note, it is very interesting that this movie comes out in a year which multiple weather events (hurricanes, fires, etc.) seriously affected major cities and even whole countries. There could have been a good movie here that evaluated the consequences of more realistic weather events that the planet has had to deal with but unfortunately by taking this idea to the extreme it has no grasp of anything interesting.
The main hook is that to combat extreme weather 17 countries’ scientists come together to build a network of satellites to stop the extreme weather events from happening by controlling temperature, wind speed, and pressure. It is never explained how this is done, there wasn’t even an attempt at some science fiction explanation. The best the viewer gets is that the satellite system can shoots bombs and lasers at the Earth to temper the extreme weather.
The satellite system is named “Dutch Boy” after the tale of the little dutch boy. Three years after it goes online Dutch Boy begins malfunctioning and the United States government, who is overseeing Dutch Boy, sends up the man who lead the team during its inception, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), to investigate what is going on. However, when Jake arrives at the International Space Station, he finds there is a deeper plot that is more than meets the eye.
There are so many problems with Geostorm. To start there is no central theme. I almost thought they were going somewhere by naming the solution Dutch Boy. The idea in the folk tale is that by identifying and solving a problem quickly, you can prevent disaster. But the story doesn’t end with the little dutch boy plugging the dam forever, eventually people come to patch the hole.
In Geostorm, Dutch Boy is the final solution, which is weird. There could have been an interesting theme between “Do we stay with this satellite system for now or do we try and solve the root cause of climate change to have a better world?” Instead the movie is just a conspiracy plot mixed with doomsday elements. The doomsday element by the way is that the malfunctions in Dutch Boy could lead to a “Geostorm” which is a series of weather events that could lead to a chain reaction that would wipe out all life on the planet because of the extreme weather.
Besides the central theme being boring, none of the personal relationships are particularly good. There is a struggle being Jake and his brother Max (Jim Sturgess) who is the assistant Secretary of State, but this theme is resolved very early and with little stakes involved. Max is dating secret service agent Sarah Wilson (Abbie Cornish), but there is nothing particularly interesting here either. Just a series of scenes that they share but they could have easily been close friends instead of lovers. All of the other relationships in the movie are so short and unmemorable, they leave no impact.
Besides the relationships being one note, the visuals and action are quite stale. There is nothing exciting about watching CGI extreme weather for 90 minutes. As far as action scenes, there are not many to speak of, and the ones that are done are not executed well enough to be compelling. In the one area where Geostorm might have been able to succeed, it fails.
Finally, and possibly worst of all, there is no cohesion in Geostrom. Every scene seems like it was improvised with no consideration of what came before or what would come next. There are points that are brought up and never revisited, and relationships that are created with no explanation. It’s so hard to follow what is going on in Geostorm that it winds up being a frustrating experience that leaves the viewer feeling empty.
Geostorm isn’t just bad — it’s the kind of bad that is uninteresting. If it had the overtop campiness of Sharknado it would actually be something worth watching. Instead it is just a barrage of tornados and floods for almost two hours that is so boring.
Do not go see this, if you want to see extreme weather go see We The Brave, I haven’t seen it, but I assume a movie based on weather events that are realistic must be more interesting than Geostorm.