Geostorm: A Suspenseful Political Thriller, Not A Disaster Movie

(L-r) GERARD BUTLER as Jake Lawson and ALEXANDRA MARIA LARA as Ute Fassbinder in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Skydance's suspense thriller "GEOSTORM," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Geostorm, directed by Independence Day‘s Dean Devlin in his feature directorial debut, doesn’t give us the disaster movie that we wanted it to be.

Devlin directed from a script he co-wrote with Paul Guyot.  The fillm stars Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, with Ed Harris and Andy Garcia.

What we got from the film is a suspenseful political thriller mixed in with some natural disasters, and two brothers who have to come together to save the world after a few years of not talking to each other.  What we don’t get is the promised geostorm and an epic disaster film.  Instead, it’s an epic disaster of a film.  What’s funny is that Devlin’s writing partner from Independence Day, Roland Emmerich, co-wrote and directed 2012, another disaster pic that provided impressive visuals but was too long of a film.

The climate has grown worse because nobody heeded the warnings from former Vice President Al Gore so world leaders ultimately come together to fight these disasters by way of a satellite network in order to control the climate.  But what happens when one uses technology as the means of preventing an awful disaster: something is bound to go wrong.  And it does.

Max Lawson works for Secretary of State Leonard Dekkom (Harris) and is recruited with finding the one person who can find the glitch in the system.  The only person who can fix it is Dutch Boy’s creator, Jake Lawson (Butler). and it takes a lot of pleading from Jake’s brother, Max (Sturgess), to get him to the space station.  If Jake doesn’t take the job, the world is doomed.

Jake heads to the International Space Station where he teams up with Ute Fassbinder (Lara).  Credit goes to the filmmakers for not forcing a love story down our throats and sticking with the story.

Meanwhile, Cheng Long (Wu) is in Hong Kong and he figures out that this isn’t a glitch in the system but something much worse.  Just as the Hong Kong-based supervisor is about to tell Max and his fiance, Secret Service agent Sarah Wilson (Cornish), what he discovered, he’s quickly murdered–thus taking the film into suspense thriller territory and away from disaster movie epics.

The problem with Geostorm is that they spend too much time on the Space Station trying to solve the problem at hand.  If a movie promises a disastrous storm, the filmmakers should follow through on that promise.  Nobody is coming for the suspense thriller because it wasn’t marketed that way.  Even at that, it’s so easy to figure it out a mile away.  If movie goers take ANYTHING away from the film it’s this:  climate change is real and it’s happening whether this current president chooses to believe it or not.  Let’s not take our world in the direction that requires us to build a satellite network to prevent awful disasters from happening.

The best line in the film came from Andy Garcia’s President Andrew Palma: “How? I’m the goddamn President of the United States, that’s how!”

Warner Brothers opened Geostorm in theaters on October 20, 2017.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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