I was wrong.
I have spent my entire life being wrong about everything. Wrong on movies, wrong on politics, wrong on life; my twelve steps begin now.
With Geostorm, I have at long last seen the light – a beautiful, angelic, lens-flare CGI light beaming with hope, redemption, and salvation defining forever my moment of clarity. How incredibly privileged I am to be the first to witness what is sure to be humanity’s next great celebration. This is truly the moment foreshadowed by that guy in 2008, when “the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal.” Thanks, Obama.
Reviewing this masterpiece seems futile, for it is a construction the English language hardly has words to describe.
Geostorm, directed by longtime Roland Emmerich partner Dean Devlin, gleams and glistens with inspiration from such classics like San Andreas, Volcano, The Core, The Wave, Twister, and, of course, the previous apex of cinema, Armageddon. But that’s just on the surface. Beneath that, you can see the culmination of such incredible works like A Man Apart, The Dark Side of Love, and Subterfuge. Further beneath that, you can even see in its DNA traces of lineage from political thriller classics such as Not Without My Daughter, Shadow Conspiracy, and Executive Action.
And, of course, how could I forget the clear parallels it shares with Emmerich’s Godzilla and Independence Day: Resurgence?
With all the greatest landmarks of cinema propelling this film, one might think Geostorm would be incomprehensibly messy, schizophrenic, and clogged to the point of sheer pretension. Yet somehow everything fuses seamlessly together with no jarring transitions, idiotic babbling digressions in dialogue, or procedural haywire. Its profundity shall take you to the stars and beyond, and flip your entire worldview on its head. Thanks to Geostorm, I am now a proud liberal. So sit down, shut up, and observe this gospel.
Two years from now, mankind’s shameless refusal to listen to Al Gore’s inconvenient truth and its sequel has caused nature’s mass havoc upon the Earth. Eighteen countries, led by the United States and China, assembled and commissioned a space storm defense construction called “Dutch Boy.” Operated by the International Space Station, Dutch Boy, and its vast network of surrounding satellites, detects storms and counters them. Its architect, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), after launching it without U.S. approval, is forced off the project by the Senate and his younger brother State Department official, Max (Jim Sturgess). Three years later, his rare father-daughter time is cut short when Max visits him at home to rope him into going back up there to fix what initially looks to be a malfunction because a village in the middle of Afghanistan has somehow frozen still. Max, who is meanwhile carrying an illicit secret relationship with a Secret Service agent (Abbie Cornish), is contacted by his Chinese counterpart who has uncovered evidence of a conspiracy of planetary proportion.
The procedural drama, romantic and bromantic relationships from there are in no way convoluted, baffling, or unconvincing. Every actor is a magnificent find, bringing real experience and credible humanity from the most moving and beautiful words ever composed in a screenplay. Even the recast actress playing Jake’s ex-wife, who we don’t see until nearly the end of the film, is great – playing a hefty dramatic role added to the film over the past year of reshoots. Don’t worry; it’s not awkward at all! As usual, when films are cast into development hell and reworked in stasis before release, their end result is always significantly improved.
But the standout is Gerard Butler. Butler’s impressive filmography (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, P.S. I Love You, The Ugly Truth, Gamer, The Bounty Hunter, Playing for Keeps, Gods of Egypt) reveals a man up for any otherworldly challenge and does not turn a role down no matter what zany antics or indignities he is made to do. How perfect then, for him to play a hypothetical Jack-Bauer-in-space kind of figure that the makers of Geostorm graciously plucked from my imagination.
In fact, every character besides the villains epitomizes the great global ideal. Their development is certainly not rushed, haphazard, or inept to the point of laughable. There is, however, plenty to laugh at. Geostorm is just so dang funny, I and my fellow audience members couldn’t stop hooting or hollering the whole time. That’s how engaged we were for the entire two-hour duration.
And the look! My goodness, it’s like this film was created by a breed of time travelers who took over for standard special effects artists. There are multiple disaster scenes that are so authentic, vivid, and certainly not redundant or hackneyed, that we must now look to Geostorm as the new standard. Characters perform superhuman feats when surrounded by chaos and explosions, and are not even remotely unbelievable because the movie makes it look so real. The dedication to perfecting this film is so intense that I wouldn’t bat an eye if we learned that the crew actually went up into space themselves just to shoot it.
It’s a good thing that Geostorm is so clearly without flaw, and isn’t an execrably painful, harebrained disaster of a disaster movie. If it was, it would be a kind of perfect storm of narrative and political ineptitude, and hurricane victim exploitation. It would be, in this implausible hypothetical, a cynical exercise in self-inflicted chromosome removal in very bad taste, and even worse intentions. It would demonstrate to audiences everywhere that Hollywood – a town of Scientologists, Harvey Weinstein, and other such model citizens – not only cheerfully preaches from the rooftops of flooded homes in Houston and San Juan, but does so with the impotence of a California legislator.
If Geostorm wasn’t the grand herald of the new era, it would be amateur tattoo artistry upon the eyeballs and eardrums where even the most willing audience would find itself bewildered by the badness before it. Thank goodness, then, that what we instead have before us is the most moving, life-altering experience ever crafted.
Geostorm isn’t just the best movie of the year. It’s the best $120 million any group of humans has spent on anything. It’s the best movie of next year, and the year after that, and all future years until we bring to life the great visionary triumph coming to theaters everywhere this weekend. Now, if you’ll excuse me, President Rodham and I have some policy proposals to discuss.
*** I owe a special shout-out to Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw of Zero Punctuation and his “Duke Nukem Forever” video for inspiring this review.