Awfully Good: Geostorm

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Many of you did not agree that BOOK OF HENRY was 2017’s worst movie. I’ve heard your cries for justice and present another much maligned film from last year…

Geostorm (2017)

Director: Dean Devlin
Stars: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish

Hunky scientist Gerard Butler must stop someone from hijacking the weather and using it to destroy the planet.

GEOSTORM marks the directorial debut of Hollywood mega-producer Dean Devlin, most famous for his work with Roland Emmerich in the late 90s, including STARGATE, INDEPENDENCE DAY and, yes, the 1998 GODZILLA. When the pair went their separate ways, Emmerich went on to make world-ending Awfully Good flicks like 2012 and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. So it seems somewhat fitting that Devlin would copy him with a disaster movie that on paper sounds like a lazy ripoff of both those movies.

That sentiment was true until partway through the film, when the International Space Station’s self-destruct sequence kicked in and I realized GEOSTORM was operating on a level of dumb not often attempted in cinema.

Disneyland’s GODFATHER PART III: THE RIDE was not for everyone.

You may be wondering, what is a Geostorm exactly? The short answer is a deadly weather pattern that will never not sound stupid, no matter how many times these poor actors have to dramatically say things like, “We need the kill codes to stop the Geostorm!”

The longer answer is that in the near future, global warming has caused extreme weather that decimates the planet. So Gerard Butler builds a network of weather-neutralizing satellites that dissolves hurricanes and heats up snowstorms. (He names this miraculous invention “Dutch Boy,” because the movie clearly needed more awkwardly-named things.) However, should this technology fall in to the wrong hands, someone could technically also trigger cataclysmic weather across the world, which would then merge and cause unstoppable meteorological chain reactions that would cover the entire planet in one never-ending storm called…you guessed it, a Geostorm!

Don’t worry if you don’t get it right away. The concept is explained multiple times via narration and expository dialogue, since no character in the movie seems to have heard of a Geostorm, even though it sounds pretty important. Not to mention all the computers and phones even have a warning alert for it, along with a literal “Countdown to Geostorm.”

At least this movie comes with a warning to the audience.

So it’s like bad weather that’s gone sentient. What does that mean for you, the viewer? It means you get to watch:

  • Killer hail the size of Godzilla nards destroy Tokyo.
  • Giant sand tornados threaten a boy and his dog in India.
  • Murder Lightning in Orlando.(By the way, did you know when lightning hits a building or car it automatically and instantaneously explodes?)
  • A tsunami in Dubai, even though tsunamis are caused by earthquakes, not wind.
  • And a visible wave of instant frost attacking the beaches of Brazil, freezing some people to death and dropping frozen birds and planes from the sky to crush the rest.

“Let it go! Let it gooooooo…”

In addition to stealing from pretty much every other disaster movie of the last decade, GEOSTORM also “borrows” from a lot of other films, like ARMAGEDDON, when Gerard Butler tearfully promises his daughter he’s coming back before going up to space. Or NATIONAL TREASURE, when they have to pull a Nicolas Cage and ironically kidnap the president in order to save America. I would blame Devlin’s writing or direction, but GEOSTORM was filmed back in 2014 and went through numerous reshoots, so God knows who’s to blame for what. All I know is there’s not an original bone in this movie’s body. From the government turning a peaceful scientific breakthrough in to a weapon to the President or someone close to him predictably being the bad guy. (I won’t spoil it, but Ed Harris does play the Secretary of State in this movie.)

Pretty much the only real surprise in GEOSTORM is that the villain is randomly shown to be a Democrat and not the usual evil Republican.

Someone really loves the Keith Hernandez episode of Seinfeld.

While there’s plenty of disaster porn involving worldwide locations, the action itself in GEOSTORM is kind of a let down. Most of the destruction happens thousands of miles away from any of the characters, so you’re just watching CGI wind and water attack random buildings and people you don’t care about. Fans of 300 and OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN will also be sad to hear that Gerard Butler plays a scientist (and clearly doesn’t understand any of the complicated stuff he’s saying), so you don’t even get to see him punch or shoot any of the weather. Despite what the poster might suggest, he’s not even on Earth with his daughter while the title action is taking place. In fact, I think Jim Sturgess punches more people than Gerard Butler in this movie, which I believe legally constitutes a crime.

Gerard Butler thinking about being a scientist.

The entire third act, and pretty much the only thing Gerard Butler’s character is directly involved with, involves the Geostorm triggering the International Space Station to automatically launch a self destruct sequence that causes it to slowly explode piece-by-piece, with no fail safe or way to cancel it. WHY IS THIS EVEN A THING?

Oh yeah, because the film’s actual solution for defeating the Geostorm is Gerard Butler having to essentially just turn the space station off and then back on again to reset it, and they needed to find a way to shoehorn in some explosions to make it more exciting. Well played, GEOSTORM!

Leave it to a child to perfectly describe this movie.

A collection of all the dumb things people say in this movie.

All the parts where millions of people die in various natural disasters. Because, let’s be honest, that’s the entire reason you’d watch this movie.

Gerard Butler wears a shirt.

Got an umbrella? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Someone says the title of the movie
  • A new weather pattern attacks the planet
  • Gerard Butler is visibly struggling to remember his lines

Double shot if:

  • Someone gets sucked out in to space

Thanks to Spencer, Jeri and Eric for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.


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