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Review: Geostorm

From its C-list cast to its brazenly dumb title, I was looking forward to Geostorm to be a return to form for the fun and mostly dumb disaster film, a genre that has the potential to be some of the most fun popcorn entertainment in cinema. While the film offers some unintentionally humorous moments along the way, its mostly a standard issue affair that audiences would expect to see from the SyFi channel.

Geostorm takes place in a world where after a string of damaging natural disasters, a team of global scientists were forced to build a satellite to contain the storms. When someone appears to be using the satellite to attack cities, its up to the satellite’s creator to find the problem and save the day.

Geostorm is as ridiculous as a movie called Geostorm sounds, and that is where the entertainment value of this film lies. The actors and material take the subject matter to be deathly serious, which is a nice change of pace between the Sharknado type of B-films that are constantly winking at the camera. Between the ham-fisted dialogue and melodramatic score, there is a lot of laughs to be had, and while they were mostly unintentional; I’d be hard-pressed to totally damn the film.

At the same token, this is a really bad movie, with most of my enjoyment coming from what it is done so poorly. I expect a movie like this to have some bad acting and horrible dialogue, but for a 120 million dollar movie like this to look so cheap is particularly shocking. The action here is embarrassing at points,  with the unpolished CGI and shaky camerawork making the storms look like a real disaster. It did not shock me at all to learn that this was Dean Devlin’s directorial debut, as his effort reeks of inexperience.

Devlin is also the film’s main scribe, having written such classic works as the 1998 Godzilla. For those who have seen that film, you know what you are getting into here. The characters are cliched as can be, the story is audacious in just how stupid it can get, and there are dozens of forced speeches that fail to inspire the ra-ra sentiment they desire to have. Even more cringe-worthy is just how epic this film thinks it is, when in reality its the dopey beyond belief.

What’s kills this movie is just how little personality it has. Gerald Butler has proven to be a capable leading man in the past, but he seems to just be mugging through the role here with little effort. Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, and Ed Harris are all decent actors, but both their performances and script make these characters fairly wooden. Just a splash of humor and likable characters could have made the film a lot more memorable.

Geostorm has been getting destroyed by critics, and while I don’t think its as bad as many are saying, its a cheap, formulaic, and bland disaster film that can’t make its tride and true formula work.

Grade: C 

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