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  Geostorm Blame It On The Weatherman
Year: 2017
Director: Dean Devlin
Stars: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Egenio Debez, Amr Waked, Adepero Oduye, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Robert Sheehan, Richard Schiff, Mare Winningham, Zazie Beetz, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Ritchie Montgomery
Genre: Action, Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 2019, there was a global warming catastrophe impending because not enough of humanity listened to the warnings of what could happen if the situation was left unchecked. Fortunately, it was not too late to do something about it, and a worldwide operation funded by the Americans and Chinese was put into place that calmed the weather down with a series of specially-designed satellites preventing the extremes from ever inflicting themselves on us again. But the project director, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), had reservations about handing over the operation to the bureaucrats, with good reason as it turned out, for the problems were only beginning...

Sometimes audiences can sense when a production was not, shall we say, the smoothest, and Geostorm was an instance of that as it was plain to it had suffered issues in the making, notably if you watched star Butler's incredible growing and shrinking beard, always a dead giveaway when it came to spotting the reshoots. Reshoots were what this had to whip it into shape, with super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer brought on board to apparently make it far more like his nineteen-nineties hit Armageddon, which had been a huge success so evidently it was used as a template as original creator Dean Devlin, making his directorial debut, was elbowed out of the way.

Well, you can say Devlin was the original creator, but those with long memories (and a knowledge of obscure sci-fi) observed that he had essentially ripped off his old colleague Roland Emmerich's eighties movie The Noah's Ark Principle, completely uncredited, which prompted some to ponder why they didn't work together anymore. Back at Geostorm, it was released to cinemas after some significant delays and landed with a resounding thud to terrible reviews and general indifference, notched up as another action turkey from Butler (though to be fair, his other action movies did often make their budget back) and only a few small voices claiming it was actually not as bad as all that.

A few more small voices said it was indeed as bad as all that, but it was also unintentionally funny, which might have attracted some attention in itself. It was accurate to observe the motives for the bad guys did not make any sense whatsoever, as they weaponised the satellite system, known absurdly as Dutchboy because of the legend about the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike. This would effectively make the weather so dreadful that Planet Earth would be uninhabitable, meaning the villains were essentially committing mass suicide and taking the rest of us with them all for the sake of controlling the world. Not only did those antagonists not appear to have thought things through, but neither had the filmmakers, adding the weaponizing because they needed action for their action movie.

We meet up with Lawson after he has eschewed the life of a top scientist and astronaut to live in a trailer with his young daughter in what looks like a passive aggressive huff rather than the act of a noble crusader. Those bureaucrats forced him out, but now there's another crisis with the climate he is persuaded back to the fray by his non-lookalike brother Max (Jim Sturgess) who works for the US Government, and the rest of this played out with Jake in space and Max on the ground trying to save the globe. There was a lot of aims to appeal to the global village here, in a way that depicted a bunch of sequences from various locations on many continents, though that did not stop the movie taking undisguised glee at destroying their populations in a welter of special effects - if you saw somewhere you recognised, were you supposed to be happy to be represented or dismayed that the place you knew was getting frozen, flooded or exploded? With a part that destroyed the Democrats' National Convention, and presumably most of the Democrats with it, they were pretty blasé about who they killed off, and such bits as Jake's special code or the spot the bad guy on the station did raise a laugh. But it was a movie that thought it was being clever when it was in fact very stupid, and that can prove wearing. Sentimental music by Lorne Balfe.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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