Dean Devlin makes his directorial debut with Geostorm, years after serving as the highly successful producer of disaster movies such as Independence Day and Godzilla. Devlin took a question by his daughter about why global warming cannot be stopped and blew it up into a full-on climate change conspiracy thriller that has now arrived on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download formats.
Gerard Butler stars as Jake, the scientist who created, built and maintained a massive global satellite system that was reversing the ills of global warming. Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas) is his brother Max, a high-level State Department official who clashes with his sibling repeatedly and even took it upon himself to fire his bro and oversee the program himself. That went over well at the Lawson household. Abbie Cornish is Secret Service Agent Sarah Wilson, who happens to be engaged to Max and for our story, is fortunately one of the youngest to land on the president’s detail… the highest honor any Secret Service Agent could achieve.
In the world of Devlin, bombastic scripted drama holds a position on a filmmaking process that is higher than any resemblance of reality. It would make sense that all involved with be connected somehow, either through blood or heart. Hey, don’t judge. We can suspend disbelief with the best of them, but sometimes it is just too much to swallow.
If you can get past that little hiccup, the crux of the story lies in the fact that someone in or connected to the White House has been sabotaging the system, unleashing world-ending storms on various cities across the globe. There is only one man who can fix the satellite system and that is Jake. So, brothers must mend ways to save the world. Do you think they will find a common ground so that our planet stands a chance? Is the world getting warmer in real life?
A highly decorated supporting cast play integral parts to our soap opera-ish, head-shaking moving plot parts. Oscar nominees Andy Garcia and Ed Harris star as POTUS and the Secretary of State, respectively. What they do and how well they do it is hardly worth discussing as it appears that little thought was given to giving these talented thespians something to work with of any kind of weight in between witnessing millions of people perish at the hands of a massively manipulated Mother Nature. But one thing can be said, each must have something to do with that conspiracy, as we learned in the Geostorm trailer that our troubles begin and end in the White House.
Devlin shares the scripting honors with Paul Guyot and credit must be laid on both for crafting a film that at the least shows the world what catastrophic weather looks like, which real-life scientists are predicting will occur if we do nothing in terms of climate change. The question is whether anyone will see it to have something positive arise out of this cinematic experience. Upon its theatrical release, the highly anticipated popcorn flick failed to secure the top spot at the box office, losing out to Boo 2! A Madea Halloween.
Chances for viewership to increase with the home release is not likely to happen either. The film itself is stumbles towards its midpoint, but once second act becomes third, there is just only so much a viewer can suspend in that suspension of disbelief deal that audiences give filmmakers. It would be better if it was so bad that it was laughable. Sadly, Geostorm is just painful.
A home video release can be salvaged at times if the bonus features elevate the material, at least giving viewers some entertaining and enlightening insight into the train wreck they just witnessed. With Geostorm’s Blu-Ray and DVD release, the featurettes are as challenging to make it through as the film itself. That is disappointing, frankly, because what Devlin has done — at the least — is create a spectacle of the highest order. Getting some valuable behind-the-scenes insight into how he achieved those mind-blowing visual sequences would have been fantastic. Yet, none of what we get does anything resembling that.
One of the few appeals of Geostorm, besides its visual apocalyptic cornucopia, is the international cast. An International Cast (yes, a wildly creative moniker) is a brief look at the “U.N.-like” collective that is the ensemble. But after that, it is all downhill.
Wreaking Havoc is a way-too-short (6:30) featurette that looks at Devlin’s combined use of practical sets and envelope-pushing CGI. The operative phrase in that last sentence is “envelope-pushing.” See, Devlin and his team fail to give us any kind of insight into the spectacle that is the only spectacular aspect of his film. The Search for Answers will not provide any as the origins of this project is explored. As we stated earlier, Devlin’s daughter asked about climate change and it sent her father on a filmmaking journey that resulted in Geostorm. Sadly, his movie is not truly about global warming, thus lessening the impact of the Geostorm genesis story profoundly.
Film Grade: D
Bonus Features: D-