Geostorm, directed by Dean Devlin, known for his work on both Independence Day movies and Godzilla, is an action/sci-fi/thriller. In a version of our world a couple of years into the future, global warming has become a crisis. A group of international scientists, led by Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), is in charge of spearheading Dutch Boy, a series of connected satellites with the ability to control the weather. A few years farther into the future, Lawson is recruited by his brother, Max Lawson (Jim Sturgess), to return to the International Space Station to address malfunctions in Dutch Boy that have been destroying entire cities. If he is unable to solve the problem, a massive geostorm will envelop the planet, killing billions—cue dramatic music.
It’s great. It really is. People love to hate on these apocalyptic type, end-of-the-world-movies, but Geostorm delivers exactly what all its end-of-world-movie predecessors have delivered before it, and it does so especially well.
There is the anticipation—the countdown (sometimes literal, sometimes figurative) to what the protagonist is ultimately trying to stop: the end of the world. All the while, we, the audience, get to watch the action of all those people trying to avoid the danger but unsuccessfully so, because we know only the protagonist can save them all.
There is the emotional investment. The protagonist almost always has a family (duh) and actually cares about his children (Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore in The Happening, and John Cusack as Jackson Curtis in 2012). If he is a divorced man, he is estranged from his children but still a loving father (Dennis Quaid as Jack Hall in The Day After Tomorrow). Major motion picture companies know we can’t help but root for that family man. Of course, there is plenty of questionable science and necessary CGI, but you really should come into this type of movie prepared for it.
Now on to casting. Geostorm, just like the rest of these end-of-word-films, casts men, Butler and Sturgess, as the main protagonists that “technically” save the world. Now, of course, Butler and Sturgess both played their roles well. Butler as the gruff, tough guy always wins hearts, and I always have a special place in my heart for Sturgess since his role as Jude in Across the Universe. But the Lawsons wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything without the strong female characters that support them.
Abbie Cornish as Sarah Wilson is the actual badass of the movie. A member of the US Secret Services, Wilson leads a couple of high-action scenes that leave her looking like the hero. I haven’t seen any of her previous movies, but now I’m definitely keeping an eye out for her.
Zazie Beetz as Dana and Alexandra Maria Lara as Ute Fassbinder also play supporting roles that ultimately help the Lawsons save the world. However, Talitha Bateman as Hanna Lawson, Jake Lawson’s daughter, stood out among the rest. She was amazing. Her tears made me want to cry actual tears, and she’s the main reason we’re all rooting for Jake Lawson, anyway. I cannot wait to see her act in bigger roles in the future. She will blow everyone away.
Geostorm probably won’t win any awards, but it accomplished what it set out to do. It’s 1 hour and 49 minutes of entertainment and excitement, rated PG-13. It manipulates the viewers’ emotions like a toy yo-yo. There are moments of thrill, sadness, and comedic relief—most notably provided by Eugenio Derbez as Al Hernandez. Geostorm is out now in theaters.