The low­down on weather epic Geostorm, the year’s most drain­bust­ing block­buster

Empire (UK) - - PRE.VIEW - words NICK DE SEM­LYEN

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.

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