The lowdown on weather epic Geostorm, the year’s most drainbusting blockbuster
a twist. It’s Hard Rain with harder rain. It’s 2012 multiplied by 300. Whether you’re ready or not, Geostorm is blowing in like a freak cyclone, and it’s shaping up to be the most preposterous, over-the-top action movie of the year.
The man originally responsible for this mega-budget mash-up is Dean Devlin, the producer of apocalyptic blockbusters such as
Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and, yes, 2012, who was hired by Warner Bros. to make his directing debut with Geostorm. Together with writing partner Paul Guyot, he sketched out the story, then threw an all-you-can-sleet buffet of meteorological madness at it, including 14,000 tornados hurtling through Mumbai, a monstrous flash-freeze in Afghanistan and a hailstorm in Tokyo. “There’s a lot of spectacle,” Devlin promised Empire during the shoot back in early 2015. “But I’m going for the cheer factor too. Event [movies] are like a rock concert.”
Unexpectedly, though, the plug has since been pulled. Late last year a behind-the-scenes hurricane hit Geostorm, with Devlin departing the project and director Danny Cannon (Judge
Dredd) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer being summoned to oversee extensive reshoots. It didn’t bode well, and the early trailers have lurched tonally from gritty foreboding to cheesy comedy, but one should never underestimate a film that features 3,000 firenados.
According to its star, those tonal shifts are part of its joy. “You have a disaster movie, a space movie, a romantic movie, a political thriller,” reels off Gerard Butler, “and it’s kind of a comedy as well.” Sure enough, the plot zigzags between genres like a Netflix user with ADD. Butler is a satellite designer named Jake, who is rocketed into outer space to investigate rum doings aboard an international space station. Said space station was set up to reverse climate change on Earth, but it’s creating natural disasters instead, building up to a bona fide globe-crusher. And if that wasn’t enough, Jake’s brother Max (Jim Sturgess) is in the White House, uncovering a conspiracy to kill the President. “I play a cheeky chappy in a spacesuit,” explains Butler, “and I got to do some of the coolest shit I’ve ever done.” All being well, all that production brouhaha will just end up being a geostorm in a geoteacup.
Top to bottom: Gerard Butler as satellite designer Jake; “What happens if I press this button?”; Oops, it’s a space stationtriggered tsunami.