The new movie Geostorm is an excellent way to save you some time. Say you want to see a big dumb disaster movie, a political conspiracy movie, and a space-based sci-fi film and you just don’t have the time for all three… Why, go see Geostorm and condense your viewing experience and maybe get just a little dumber while you’re at it!
Geostorm is the disaster movie from Dean Devlin, the producing partner of director Roland Emmerich (responsible for Independence Day, 2012, Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, and more). It’s set in some nebulous near-future where the governments of the world have joined forces to create a satellite shield around the Earth designed to prevent weather disasters caused by global warming. But something has gone wrong and the weather dominator… ermmm… I mean the Dutch Boy satellite system is causing disasters instead. But is it an accident or is someone causing it . Spoiler alert, it’s sabotage.
Gerard Butler plays the super genius who designed and built the satellite system and IIS (IV)… but the US government took him off the case. Now, three whole years later (about two minutes in movie-time), they bring him back to solve the problem. Except now nobody recognizes him because that was, like, totally three years ago. So he spends his time in orbit in one movie while his brother tries to uncover the conspiracy on earth in another movie. Meanwhile, in a third movie, random extras are killed by weather events (spoiler alert: but the dog survives).
There’s a part of me that admires the scientific optimism of the movie… a dozen shuttles sit on launch pads waiting to launch to an enormous space station in orbit. People living and working in space, managing the weather, etc. Then there’s a part of that just rolls my eyes every time they sabotage their own logic and give us weather control satellites that somehow cause tornadoes, heat waves, flash freezing, tsunami the size of skyscrapers, etc. Probably some design flaws in that system, guys.
It’s a big dumb disaster movie and the science is just hand-waving magic, really. Are the disasters good? Not really… most of them just seem tacked on and rather short. Most of our main characters aren’t involved in them so we only vaguely follow a couple glorified extras as they run from nature’s fury.
Disaster movies are usually pretty dumb but that’s half the fun of them. When a disaster movie gets dressed up as a conspiracy thriller and a sci-fi adventure that take themselves VERY seriously, half the fun is gone. And if the conspiracy thriller is obvious, then where’s the fun to be had? We didn’t come to see tightly plotted drama and we don’t get it anyway. There’s better movies – and better disaster movies – out there.