“Geostorm”

 

            This one hasn't received a lot of publicity, and wasn't screened in advance for critics (never a good sign).  Some of the narrative stretches credulity.  And for a disaster movie, it takes a while to generate any real action.  But it may be worth your time, anyway, just for the special effects.

            Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) appears before a Congressional hearing, defending his leadership of the international space shuttle operation that actually succeeded in controlling the earth's climate (they say this will happen in 2019, but of course the “real” thing might take a couple more generations, not a couple more years).  Jake is a bit of a renegade (he would call himself a “truth-teller”) who's not learned to be deferential when he needs to be.  So he's summarily removed from the project that has been his whole life.  Even costing him a divorce, and separation from his precious daughter. 

            Three years later, and he's fixing up old cars for nursing home residents, when they find him to help solve several mysterious “glitches” in the space station operation.  (They complicate things by making this also about a drama with his younger brother, but that only becomes important later because he's dating a Secret Service agent.)  When Jake reluctantly agrees to see what he can do to help, he quickly discover that 1) things aren't the same as when he left them, and 2) there's sabatoge in the works.

            What follows is the intrigue of discovering who's behind the nefarious plot, and why.  Turns out that a lot of people are not who they appear to be, but of course we're counting on our gruff, unsophisticated hero to figure all this out and save the world from destruction, just in the nick of time.

            Oh, and meanwhile, we are treated to CGI renderings of complete disasters, from tidal waves in Dubai to heat waves in Moscow to tornadoes in Mumbai to hard freezes in Rio de Janeiro to lightning storms in Orlando.  It's creative, but it's also a strange list of destruction targets.

            There's a little bit of humor here—-not much—--and a little bit of love, but actually we're too busy saving the world to have much time for frivolity.  It's a global crisis made poignant by the assumption of a level of international cooperation that we might never achieve.

 

Questions for Discussion:

1)                  Do you think there have been more natural disasters lately than in recent memory?  If so, do you believe this is attributable to global warming?

2)                  What would have to happen for there to be a truly cooperative international space station?

3)                  The “Geostorm” is the cataclysm that happens because of the combined effect of several different, but simultaneous, weather catastrophes.  Do you think this is possible?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association