GEOSTORM (FILM REVIEW)

The worrying trend of climate change has provided fodder for big movies these last few years. From documentaries to epic disaster movies, the topic is a compelling one as we throw out many “what if” scenarios. Geostorm is the latest entry that places us in the future of a possible scenario, where we use tech to resolve the adverse changes.

Gerald Butler is Jake Lawson. The movie introduces him as the architect of a woven network of satellites, each aimed at a spot or city on earth to maintain the natural habitat. Built with the agreement of 17 major countries and helmed by super forces United States and China, the project is a huge success.

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The thing is, there’s an agreement for the U.S. to hand the entire project over to the UN in three years, now that it has stabilised. This does not please a group of senators, who want to maintain control over the project and suggest measures to which the hot-headed Jake rails against. Jake – you’re fired. By his brother Max (Jim Sturgess) no less.

Fast forward to the handover, malfunctions starts to come in in a timely manner. We see shocking scenes of frozen desert villages in Afghanistan and fiery eruptions in Hong Kong. Was it a coincidence or is something larger at play here?

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You guessed it.

Leonard Dekkom (Ed Harris), the President’s aid, tasks Max to re-hire his brother to solve the issues, but the brotherly duo gets increasingly convinced that someone has sabotaged the project. What the world could potentially face is a series of natural calamities that trigger off an irreversible destructive force around the planet – thus named Geostorm.

If you feel the scenes, build-up and cast are eerily familiar, you’re on to something. Director and co-writer Dean Devlin was producer for the Independance Day series and Geostorm is pretty much that with a climate change spin.

You’ve got the anti-hero, the love-hate family ties, the child who symbolises hope for mankind, the betrayals from your most trusted, and yes – millions of dollars worth of effects. From tornados to electrical storms to tsunamis, the formula has been transplanted, except in this case, we can afford to place these natural disasters in unexpected cities. A spectacle? Yes. Enough to justify the movie? Eh.

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A strange thing is happening with the audience these days. We’re treated to so much CGI, that we’re switching off to them. Film makers keep scaling them up – taller waves, more powerful explosions – but even as faceless people get swept up by the destruction, we know that the ones we can see – cue small boy with his dog – will not perish. We never get worried, because the producers need us to see their looks of relief when they get saved. Yay humanity!

Geostorm suffers from a lack of originality, which could have been strengthened by a better script or cast. But sadly, it goes run-of-the-mill and doesn’t excite as much as it thought it would.

Rating: 3*

Grand scale effects loses the plot and the cast fail to support the action thriller. This. Is. Spartan.

First published: www.movieXclusive.com

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