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 overemoting 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