Movie Review: “Geostorm” (PG-13)
The new Dean Devlin-directed epic, “Geostorm,” is a disaster. Worse still, it’s weirdly joyless. And unlike the equally over-the-top “San Andreas,” which had the good fortune of having the charisma of The Rock to lean on, “Geostorm” hasn’t a sufficient performance to trump it’s overabundance of silliness, an extra shame when you take a moment to consider that this movie costars dependable veterans like Ed Harris and Andy Garcia.
In “Geostorm,” Butler is Jake Lawson, a genius technician who’s called into action when the satellite system he created in an effort to control the world’s climate malfunctions, resulting in the formation of a devastating geostorm that could wipe out the human race as we know it. Upon arriving on said satellite system, Lawson soon realizes that the malfunction may not be a malfunction at all. That’s right! Sabotage, ladies and gentleman. But by who, you ask? Chances are, you’ll figure it out in the first act.
Look, disaster movies can be a lot of fun but “Geostorm,” despite a reasonable pace, is anything but. With “Geostorm,” Devlin has regurgitated the type of film Roland Emmerich has been regurgitating for the better part of his entire career. And while this movie probably deserves some points for not taking itself too seriously, some of those points have to be taken away for a severe lack of urgency and for daring to inject messages, political and environmental, into a movie that isn’t really worthy of them.
Furthermore, for a big disaster flick with so much going on, it’s strange how it never feels like anything is actually happening in “Geostorm.” Even the massive disaster sequences, which most people will be coming to see, are completely lackluster. Save for a sequence in which a man attempts to outrun underground volcanic activity while barreling down the streets of Hong Kong in his car, we’ve seen cinematic disaster done substantially better in everything from “Armageddon” to “Dante’s Peak” to “Deep Impact.”
Butler, who can be a terrific actor, appears to be sleepwalking through this thing. Likewise, Jim Sturgess doesn’t do much to elevate the proceedings either, and that’s a shame, because he’s been really good in far better movies. As for Harris and Garcia, it’s difficult to decipher why they agreed to say yes to this project, but if any of us were to venture to take a guess, it’s probably for the same reason that Michael Caine said yes to “Jaws: The Revenge.” Whatever the case may be, it’s not like “Geostorm” will have an affect on the films these veteran actors have done in the past or will do in the future, so if there’s a silver lining to be found, that’s it.
It’s clear that “Geostorm” doesn’t aspire to be high art, and that’s fine, because not all movies need to be high art. What’s disappointing here, aside from all the money and talent that was put into this thing, is that in its crusade to be the biggest and best in large-scale entertainment, it ended up just being boring and uneventful.