Thursday 26 October 2017
2017 USA Directed by Dean Devlin
UK cinema release print.
Warning: What the heck... there are some partial spoilers in here.
Wow. Geostorm really is a load of old bobbins.
And I don’t mean bobbins you can re-watch every now and again because it has a certain, good natured quality to it and has a script that revels in it’s bobbinsy nature, winking slyly at the audience in a knowing way. This is the kind of, admittedly slightly entertaining but ultimately not all that interesting variety of bobbins infested movie-making which really isn’t going to stand the test of time and will forever be relegated to that time slot on Boxing Day TV, when everyone is too tired and attempting to digest the festive mixture of Turkey and Christmas Pudding in their gut to be too concerned with anything more taxing than this kind of thing on in the background. This, to me, seems to be Geostorm’s natural place in the world.
The movie features a cast who are all more than up to the meagre challenge this movie provides... okay, so some of the ‘floating around in space - let’s try to copy some of those Gravity moments’ stuff must have been challenging for the actors, to be fair. However, although they all take their roles very seriously and turn in some pretty believable performances... well, they absolutely have to be believable performances with a story and script like this. Geostorm is certainly ambitious, for sure, in a disaster created by ‘a bad guy’ scenario set in Earth’s near future kind of way... but it doesn't really live up to the execution of that ambition in any really enjoyable way.
The plot to Geostorm goes something like this...
In 2019, the Earth is/was ravaged by global storms that left us defenceless against an ever increasing planet that is trying to survive the fallout from global warning etc. Luckily, Jake, played by the always reliable Gerard Butler, has invented a costly weather neutralising system controlled by the International Space Station, effectively throwing a physical net around the earth with numerous ‘weird science’ ballistics that keep our weather calm and as it should be. However, three years after being fired by his little brother Max, the other leading action hero style male protagonist of the movie played by Jim Sturgess, Jake is recruited to go back into space and ‘fix’ the whole satellite net system, a project called Dutch Boy, due to some random weather disasters happening in various countries. However, it soon comes to light that this is not a small series of random cataclysmic malfunctions at all but a bid for global domination (if you take things to their logical conclusion) by the main villain of the piece, who you will spot at least an hour before the reveal, unless you’re somehow ambivalent to the less than subtle intricacies of Hollywood typecasting syndrome.
So it’s Jake in space kicking butt while Max and his secret service agent girlfriend are trying to stay alive on Earth, even though they have to kidnap the president of the United States to get authorisation for Jake to be able to flush a virus out of the system on Dutch Boy. And that’s your basic set up and... it’s all fairly breakneck in its pacing but terribly, terribly clichéd and, even with a semi-interesting car chase through an intensified lightning storm sequence, the movie never gets really great or, even, very good, truth be told. Butler and Sturgess are both fine and so are their supporting cast, including nice turns from Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Adepero Oduye, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia. However, this really doesn’t help with the script and although there are some nice effects shots, the eye candy nature of some of these always seems to be tempered with some spectacularly silly moments such as an ‘it’s okay, the dog’s alright after all’ shot which, frankly, the movie could do without, at least not quite as frequently as it does stuff like this here. It even has a long, protracted ‘goodbye’ scene for Butler as he sacrifices himself to save humanity... only for it not to mean anything five minutes later because... oh look, there was a ‘back door’ escape route off the self destructing space station after all. Ugh!
Also, there’s an immense amount of title dropping in this movie to keep reminding the audience, constantly, that there’s a lot at stake. If Geostorm is the new buzzword in the 'made up pseudo-science section' of the script department here then they certainly found a lot of ways to get it into the dialogue in as conspicuous a way as possible. People keep talking about the damned Geostorm all the time, in case we’ve forgotten where the movie is supposed to be heading. It’s not quite as bad as, most of the time, as “We’d better get a move on or that damned Geostorm wil be geostorming down on us before we can geometricise our geostormingly bad science!” Okay, so that’s not really an actual line of dialogue from this film but... it might just as well have been. Oh and, you know, since this movie is called Geostorm, as we’re being constantly reminded, it would have been nice to actually see the Geostorm happening, rather than have it averted at the eleventh hour to leave the audience wondering when they’re going to get to see the actual manifestation of the much repeated title taking place.
Throughout the running time, I never once felt like the writers were treating their target audience as anything other than super dumb and, really, that goes for the science too. I’m no expert in the scientific realm, not even close but, I can’t help but think that if they’d run a disclaimer on the end of the credits saying “No scientists were seriously harmed during the writing of this screenplay.” then the Scientist Humane Association would be up in arms. Not that there actually is a Scientist Humane Association but, who knows, after watching this thing then people living in the real world may just want to form one.
Okay so, as you can see, I didn’t get a huge amount out of Geostorm. Even cool composer Lorne Balfe’s score to the movie never really seems to give any real lift to the proceedings, which kinda disappointed me. That being said, I just listened to a few sample tracks from the forthcoming CD and they are actually pretty good away from the movie so I’m guessing the score was just mixed too low and the sound effects were burying it in a lot of places. Grabbing great scores to terrible movies is something of a hobby of mine so I may well put this one on my Christmas list.
And that’s really all I’m going to say on this one. Geostorm has some great talent which appears to be completely wasted in what seems to amount as... well... it’s definitely a kids movie, it seems to me. I can’t imagine actual adults out of their teens are going to take much of a liking to this but, like I said, I bet you’re going to be seeing a lot of this one airing on TV stations during public holidays in a few year’s time. Not something I can recommend, in all honesty and... well, it is a disaster movie, for sure but... not necessarily the kind of disaster the producers were hoping for, methinks.