‘Geostorm’ May Be Timely, But It’s A Giant Mess

‘I’ On Culture

After the recent weather-related disasters we’ve faced recently, you might think Geostorm is a perfect movie dealing with this kind of thing. And, boy, would you be wrong.

The whole film is so muddled that it is difficult to find the point. Yes, there are some great special effects, but the plot seems stitched together so badly it resembles Frankenstein’s monster.

The lead character Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) is the most famous man in the world at the start of the film because he created a system, called “Dutch Boy” after the mythic young man who put his fingers in the leaky dikes in Holland, that controls the world’s weather as a way of avoiding the major catastrophes that were happening. For his pains, he is criticized and quickly forgotten.

Then, three years later, things start to go wrong. His old team is gone, and he is sent to fix the bugs in the system. The new team of scientists, working in the same field he dominated three years earlier, are seemingly not even able to recognize him. Talk about selective memory!

It becomes obvious that the bugs are actually features, sabotage measures by some bad guys who want to control the world by creating a group of natural (or almost natural) disasters that will cause much of civilization around the world to collapse. A nasty government official (Ed Harris) is very accusatory. It takes about 10 minutes to figure out who the bad guy is, even though the process of learning it is treated as if you were finding out the great mystery of the world.

A subplot focuses on the messy relationship between Jake and his brother Max (Jim Sturgess) that, until near the end, is messier than the climate, although Max has a relationship with Sarah (Abbie Cornish), who is a Secret Service agent protecting the president of the United States.

Ironically, I am part of a discussion group that has talked about the idea of weather control. Noting the huge amount of power inherent in something like a hurricane, I pointed out that it has to go somewhere. If we redirect it, we are changing people’s lives, possibly not for the better. In this film, it has been done, and politicians immediately attempt to misuse it.

I was not certain if this was a warming about global climate change or not. Scientists and engineers talk about projects that will make change, and I tend to cringe. Yes, the weather causes problems. We have lived through all the weather disasters. What happens if we, or even worse, our politicians, get control? Is it hard to believe that a governor who owns thousands of acres of farmland decides he wants more rain so he can grow rice wouldn’t act on it, even if it means many other people have their homes flooded?

The film sort of gets into things like that, but, frankly, scenes don’t hold together. There is an interesting scene at the start at a congressional hearing, but aside from the hero, everyone else disappears from the film once the scene ends. The movie feels like it was made in pieces and patched together, not surprising, because that is exactly what happened.

This movie began in 2014 and was so bad that many scenes were redone. As a result, there is no coherent story. The film is just a series of somewhat related scenes, mixed with some special effects to get your attention so you don’t fall asleep.

The acting was rudimentary. Very little was really called for, so everybody was able to get by. Butler played himself as usual. Sturgess and Cornish were not terrible, but then again, who really cares? The politicians: Andy Garcia, Richard Schiff and Harris were all over the top. If you think our current crop of pols are bad (from whichever party), these guys make them seem like the Founding Fathers.

If you are a huge fan of big special effects, there might be something in the film for you. If you want a good story, fine acting and an interesting film, you are definitely in the wrong place. Miss it.