Sound and fury sig­nify noth­ing

Kapiti Observer - - CONVERSATIONS -

GEOSTORM (M, 109MINS) DI­RECTED BY DEAN DEVLIN

There are films you ex­pect are go­ing to be fun to watch. There are films you know noth­ing about yet they turn out to be un­ex­pect­edly ter­rific, or at least en­ter­tain­ing.

Then there’s Geostorm, the film you walk into know­ing next-tonoth­ing about, but which turns out to be ex­actly the tot­ter­ing pile of bilge you were fear­ing from the trailer and the poster. And also, let’s be hon­est, be­cause Geostorm has got Ger­ard But­ler in it.

Not that But­ler can’t act. Give him a de­cent script and a tail­wind and But­ler can be more than im­pres­sive. He was the best thing among many good things in Ralph Fi­ennes’ Co­ri­olanus a few years back. But But­ler gen­er­ally turns up in the mul­ti­plex as the hardarse who must save the world/ fam­ily/mar­riage, etc, in a suc­ces­sion of dis­pos­able ac­tion­ers that have run the gamut from hi­lar­i­ous to ris­i­ble over the past decade.

And But­ler is in his el­e­ment in Geostorm, play­ing a satel­lite en­gi­neer – un­ac­count­ably gifted with his fists, nat­u­rally – who is try­ing to avert the end of the freakin’ world while fran­ti­cally whirling around on an ex­plod­ing space sta­tion.

The set up tells us that in 2019 cli­mate change has got so far off the leash that hu­man­ity’s sur­vival is threat­ened. Cue a whole lot of cut-rate CGI var­i­ously burn­ing, freez­ing or drown­ing a few hun­dred over-emot­ing ex­tras in a com­pen­dium of scenes that look un­can­nily like out-takes from Roland Em­merich’s 2012 and The Day Af­ter To­mor­row. Geostorm di­rec­tor Dean Devlin is a friend and col­league of Em­merich’s, so this might ac­tu­ally be true. Hu­man­ity saved it­self, we are told, by build­ing a net of satel­lites to con­trol the cli­mate. But now some pesky vil­lain has planted a virus in the satel­lites, caus­ing them to ei­ther in­cin­er­ate or freeze a bunch of lo­ca­tions where, pre­sum­ably, the tax in­cen­tives for film­ing were the most gen­er­ous.

The fact that the sal­va­tion of the world even­tu­ally comes down to a whole bunch of lu­di­crous male pos­tur­ing, a car chase and a fist fight won’t sur­prise any­one at all. Lis­ten, Geostorm isn’t a truly dread­ful film. With But­ler, Ed Har­ris, Ab­bie Cor­nish and Andy Gar­cia all on board, it is at least acted with a de­gree of con­vic­tion and brio.

But Geostorm is tone-deaf, wit­less, oddly un­spec­tac­u­lar and ut­terly dis­pos­able. Wait for the (le­gal) down­load. – Graeme Tuck­ett

Ger­ard But­ler is in his el­e­ment in Geostorm, which suf­fers badly from Dooms­day deja vu.

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