There's something strange going on with Hollywood right now – we are seeing a lot of American lead characters in films being played by non-Americans. Geostorm is a case in point – the three main roles here are played by a Scot (Gerard Butler), an Englishman (Jim Sturgess) and an Aussie (Abbie Cornish). And interestingly enough, for a change none of these characters is the villain of the piece – that role falls to an actual American (who won't be revealed here for fear of spoiling the big reveal, which will honestly come as no surprise if you watch the film closely). So on that front, Geostorm is a pleasant surprise. What's no surprise is that this climate-based techno-thriller is mostly a pile of CGI overloaded rubbish.
We open with a voiceover that tells us that in 2019, many countries around the world were ravaged by unprecedented floods, storms, droughts and stuff (obviously, nobody was paying attention in 2017). So the world decides to build a satellite network to control the weather, and the construction is overseen by Jake Lawson (Butler). That's right, the man who rose to global fame playing a violent Spartan in 300 and an ultra-violent Secret Service agent in Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen is playing a super-brain who can design and build satellite systems and space stations. But when he gets a little snarky in a senate committee hearing overseen by Toby from West Wing, he's fired off the project by his boss Max (Sturgess) who also happens to be his younger brother. Cut to three years later and the whole system starts to play up – a whole village full of people in Afghanistan get frozen to death – so, of course, Max has to beg Jake to head back up to the space station and try to fix the damned thing.
If you've seen "climate-armageddon" movies like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, then you will know what to expect – lots of weather-based CGI mayhem and some truly awful dialogue. But the mayhem makes no logical sense whatsoever. A beach in Rio de Janeiro is hit by a sudden cold surge that seems people instantly frozen solid. Hailstones the size of soccer balls hit Tokyo; a heatwave destroys Moscow; tornadoes ravage Mumbai; and a tidal wave knocks down buildings in Dubai. Up on the ISS, Butler uncovers a conspiracy – the station has been hacked, and it seems that all of America's enemies are being targeted (Brazil, India and Japan are now the enemies of the US?). The person with the codes to shut down the satellite network, dubbed Dutch Boy (don't ask), is US president Andy Garcia, and it's up to Sturgess (just what exactly is his job?) and his secret girlfriend, Secret Service agent Sarah Wilson (Cornish) to snatch the president from a Democratic Party convention in Florida and get him to NASA before the station self-destructs.
Geostorm is, of course, a total pile of bunkum. Along with all the weather and satellite and conspiracy stuff, there's a number of other subplots – the tension between siblings Butler and Sturgess, an estranged father/daughter relationship and the secret affair that Sturgess and Cornish are having (just why they have to keep their couplehood a secret is never explained). And unlike so many of his recent movies, tough-guy Butler never even fires a gun here, although he does get to punch a couple of people. The first directorial outing for Dean Devlin, wo is probably best known for co-writing a number of Roland Emmerich movies (such as Independence Day, Godzilla and Stargate), Geostorm is cliched, cheesey and very, very stupid – but it's entertaining enough eye candy as long as you switch off your logic circuits as you enter the cinema.