Geostorm is an absolutely abysmal movie. A noisy, kinetic mess of a feature film best described as the cinematic answer to the fidget spinner. Imagine, if you will, that The Core director Jon Amiel got drunk and bemoaned having made the most dunderheaded sci-fi disaster movie of this century, only for Dean Devlin to respond with “hold my beer”. It’s a train wreck. A TNA Impact t-shirted Subaru-driving vape-cloud encompassed Oakley-wearing Cade Yeagar of a movie. It’s an atrocious work of narrative fiction on just about every conceivable level this side of the Transformers series.
And, in spite of all of that, it’s so brazenly unashamed of its own lantern-jawed sensibilities that by the time you’re done laughing your ass off at just how mind-numbingly stupid it is, you can’t help but enjoy having done so.
Gerard Butler stars as satellite engineer (stop sniggering…) Jake Lawton, designer of the Dutchboy system that has taken control of the Earth’s weather and put an end to the effects of climate change. When the planet is struck by a series of sudden and deadly weather anomalies, the now-disgraced Lawton finds himself the human race’s only hope as he’s roped back into service and sent into space to investigate just what’s happening to his creation and how to stop it, a mission that soon becomes ever more urgent with the threat of an impending geostorm with the potential to wipe out all life on Earth.
Reportedly dogged by production troubles (producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Danny Cannon took the reigns for reshoots that may as well have amounted to an entirely new movie), it has to be said that those issues don’t particularly stick out at any point in Geostorm, a movie that starts with its finger firmly on the moron button and keeps it there fairly consistently throughout. Its story – in so much as Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot’s original work remains – makes next to no sense, its riddled with plot holes you could drive a satellite through, and its weasily attempt at a whodunnit would keep in suspense only those in need of the very lobotomy Jim Sturgess’ haircut suggests his character has, at some point, undergone.
The suddenly puffy-faced Butler gives it the ol’ Olympus charm here, required to do little but look grizzled and faintly heroic as he sprints his way around what appears to be the moon base set from Independence Day: Resurgence, putting out one preposterous fire after another. Sturgess, meanwhile, manages only a passing facsimile of a functioning human in his supporting role as Butler’s politician brother, the hapless G-man tasked with an equally preposterous “find the conspirator” storyline alongside Abbie Cornish’s hilariously over-sexified Secret Service agent love interest. Andy Garcia’s pulling the same old song and dance as a President you may as well not remember the name of, bar simply calling him “President”, and, frankly, the less said about the box-ticking cast that makes up Butler’s space station, the better.
To say it makes The Core look like Deep Impact by comparison would be to heavily understate just how borderline braindead Geostorm truly is. It’s illogical to point of outright bewilderment, scientifically baffling to the point of driving Neil deGrasse Tyson toward a full-blown panic attack, and overblown to the extent that composer Steffen Thum could well have taken an unannounced holiday midway through production without anyone in the audience ever actually noticing the missing work. Yet all of these spectacularly gigantic faults are so utterly in the face of those sitting through it, that it’s nigh on impossible not to find yourself laughing hysterically at it. Not with it, as its abundance of witless one-liners would suggest it hopes, no, actually it. To an extent that most mainstream comedies genuinely wish they could manage.
Therein lies the most depressing conundrum of Geostorm. It’s a mortifyingly terrible movie, and yet the experience of actually being in the audience for it is such a riotous time (for, admittedly, all the wrong reasons) that you can’t actually say that you didn’t enjoy it. Not the experience of the film itself, but the experience of partaking in and being hysterically bemused by it instead. It’s one of those bonafide “so bad it’s good” movies that gave birth to actually bad Syfy movies. Point of fact, if you swapped out Butler for Casper van Dien, that’s exactly what it would be. You wouldn’t be quite as entertained by how awful it would be in that case, though, and that’s undeniably Geostorm’s most accomplished feat, and the credit that first-time (initial) helmer Dean Devlin should embrace wholeheartedly: that its a film so staggeringly bad that its hilarious ineptitude makes it impossible to hate.
Geostorm is in cinemas nationwide from Friday, October 20th; rated 12A. Check out the trailer below.