The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan



Geostorm completely abandons fundamental principles of logic and science. Although in no way a good movie, it's so amusingly and thoroughly misguided that you can't look away from it. Some future season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will have a field day with this film. Watched on its own, though – without the benefit of added commentary from professional comedians or a group of your most sarcastic and inebriated friends – this is an exercise in disbelief.

The premise is that climate change has created a series of catastrophic events. All the world's countries have come together to design, fund, and build a defense system, dubbed “Dutch Boy,” that floats right outside the Earth's atmosphere. (Somehow, all this was accomplished in just a couple years. To quote Cher Horowitz: As if!) When the system malfunctions, the U.S. president (Andy Garcia) knows there's Only One Man To Call. That would be Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), the guy who oversaw construction of Dutch Boy and therefore knows it inside and out. Jake's estranged brother Max (Jim Sturgess, in an embarrassingly overwrought performance) is dispatched to bring him back into the fold.

Jake hops a shuttle and travels to the International Space Station – an act Geostorm presents as if he's hailing a cab for a ride across town – only to discover that someone has actually sabotaged Dutch Boy. Worse yet, they've programmed it to create a “geostorm” that will cause a variety of devastating weather-related crises to occur simultaneously. While Jake investigates in space, Max and his Secret Service agent girlfriend (Abbey Cornish) do the same on the ground.

Geostorm has some impressive visual effects, but that's about it. The story is utterly preposterous, to the point where each new development creates either eye-rolling or unintentional laughter. Director/co-writer Dean Devlin opts to gloss right over anything that gets in the way of depicting intermittent scenes of destruction, even if doing so leads to distracting plot holes. How Dutch Boy works, for example, is never satisfactorily explained. The sabotage idea is little more than a red herring; it's obvious who the saboteur is. Moreover, that person's motive doesn't explain a willingness to kill millions of innocent people worldwide. And the extensive computer hacking that helps Jake uncover the mystery? Well, it requires only a few simple clicks of a keyboard.

To call the climate-related science shown onscreen “unrealistic” would be an understatement. This is a film where people outrun winds that instantly freeze whatever they touch, and where fire tornadoes cause city skyscrapers to tumble like dominoes. (You can also drive over them as they bubble up from the ground, because apparently extreme heat does nothing to affect rubber tires.) By far, the most hilarious thing in the movie is the red countdown clock in the International Space Station that reads “TIME TO GEOSTORM” as it ticks off the minutes until disaster strikes. Because if somebody was going to sabotage a weather protection system to kill half the world, they'd surely take the time to program that advance warning in.

Geostorm is pretty ludicrous. The best parts are the scenes of destruction, because as absurd as they are, at least they provide a break from duller stuff like the relationship between Max and his girlfriend. That said, it's weird that a movie called Geostorm is all about preventing the titular event. In other words, either the thing occurs and everyone dies, or they halt it and you're robbed of what should, by all rights, be the most thrilling part.

Disaster movies are often silly fun. Geostorm is way too heavy on the silly, which makes it not as much fun as it could, or should, have been.

( 1/2 out of four)

Blu-ray Features:

Geostorm arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack, Blu-ray 3D combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack, and DVD on January 23. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided a complimentary copy of the Blu-ray for the purposes of this review.

There are three bonus features, totaling about twenty minutes. “The Search for Answers” presents Dean Devlin discussing the inspiration for the movie (a question his daughter asked him), in addition to Butler and a few of the other stars talking about what they think it says regarding climate change.

“An International Event” brings us the cast of actors, who hail from different parts of the world, providing their thoughts on the movie and its subject matter. “Wreaking Havoc,” meanwhile, focuses on the visual effects used to create horrific weather disasters, including mass freezings, the aforementioned fire tornado, and massive waves that pummel cities. The bonus features are mostly of the promotional variety, although they're certainly watchable.

Picture and sound quality on the Blu-ray are outstanding. The sound mix, in particular, is impressive. It'll give your home theater system a nice workout.

Geostorm is rated PG-13 for destruction, action and violence. The running time is 1 hour and 49 minutes.

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