‘Geostorm’ Review

Director: Dean Devlin

Writers: Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot

Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Zazie Beetz, Eugenio Derbez, Daniel Wu, Talitha Bateman, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia

Synopsis: When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it’s a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Natural disasters movies are probably, and arguably, the best escapism movies in Hollywood. There’s something about watching cities and monuments getting destroyed that we see every day or want to visit. But, let’s be honest, natural disaster movies have kind of lost their luster. There’s only so many times you can watch the Statue of Liberty get destroyed, or a massive wave destroying a city. Eventually, everything is going to get done, so you’re left with trying to do something different.

Off that note, Geostorm already had an uphill battle against the plethora of other natural disaster movies, so it decided to include all of them, and add the sci-fi element of a machine that can control the weather. Does it sound ridiculous? Of course it does! But we’re talking about people being able to control the weather with a machine. Oh, and it’s directed by Dean Devlin, who has produced all those disasters movies.

Geostorm is set in a world where after climate change has gotten so out of control, the world leaders finally band together to create what is dubbed “The Dutch Boy,” after the story of a boy who stops his town from flooding by putting his finger in a hole. The Dutch Boy is a series of satellites that control the weather from the International Space Station, the creator of the program is Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), but it taken away from him after a series of events and given to his younger brother, Max (Jim Sturgess), who then has to fire him. We skip forward a few years, and after dangerous malfunctions starts happening, killing thousands of people, Max finds Jake and sends him back to the station to figure out what’s going on.

Meanwhile, Max, who is having a secret relationship with a secret service agent played by Abbie Cornish, deals with the problems on Earth as much as he can, before finding out there is something bigger to the whole picture. Now, the two brothers have to put aside their different and stop whoever is using the Dutch Boy as a weapon, and save the world.

I didn’t want to dislike or hate Geostorm, unfortunately the movie doesn’t do itself any favors. Like I said, Geostorm had an uphill battle from the beginning, and it also didn’t help that the movie came out after real natural disasters that people are still recovering from. Moreover, the movie did end up doing a lot of reshoots to apparently fix a lot of issues (I can only imagine what those were).

That’s not to say Geostorm doesn’t have some good aspects to it. There are some dumb popcorn-movie entertaining moments, and some descent funny lines, but the movie doesn’t really have anything groundbreaking that we haven’t seen before. It’s a rather safe natural disaster movie which kind of defeats the purpose on the genre.

All in all, Geostorm is an uninspired natural disaster movie that never really capitalizes on its own “new” concept. The acting is borderline flat, with the destruction being a mix-match of things we’ve seen before, but more importantly, Geostorm is rather predictable with its twists, which take you out of the movie a bit. Like I mentioned, I didn’t want to dislike or hate Geostorm as much as I did, but the movie didn’t do itself any favors.

Geostorm

2.5 out of 5

‘Olympus Has Fallen’ Review

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Dir: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Rick Yune and Radha Mitchell

Synopsis: Disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers

 

One of the two White House invasion movies has been released and this one feels like a 90’s movie…in the good way.

 

Gerard Butler stars as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, a tough but reliable agent who serves on the personal protection detail of President Ben Asher (Eckhart). He’s not just the President’s bodyguard, but also a close friend to both him and his young son Connor (Finley Jacobsen). But after a tragedy during the line of duty, Banning finds himself transferred to Treasury (the Secret Service’s other duty being counterfeiting investigations). Banning gets a chance to redeem himself when a surprise attack on the White House cripples the U.S. government and leads to the capture of President Asher and his key staff during the visit by the Prime Minster of South Korea.

Yes, the villains in the movie are North Koreans out to destroy the U.S. government and the American way of life (insert your rant here trolls). The primary villain however is Kang (Yune) who is more cunning and intelligent than over the top, although it kind of feels like it at times.

The actually take over the White House is really brutal as Kang’s forces take out the White House security and even civilians during the process before managing to kidnap Asher and his staff within their own secure bunker. During all the craziness Banning makes his way through the city and into the White House but not before taking out some baddies along the way. After the take over, Banning becomes the only contact to the outside world and remaining government figure like Secret Service director Jacobs (Bassett), General Clegg (Robert Forster) and Speaker of the House (now acting President) Trumbell (Freeman).

Once inside, Banning becomes a one man wrecking crew and kills pretty much all of Kang’s men he comes across in some pretty cool fashion. While inside he pulls off a side mission and then does the hero thing by going and trying to save the President.

The cast here does a solid job with the roles there given. Eckhart does well in his President role, Melissa Leo plays the Defense Secretary who fights back when she’s tested. Bassett’s Jacobs character has her moment to shine when she’s defending Banning trust and Freeman plays Trumbell the way you would think when someone is thrown into high power.

However, this is Butler’s movie and he kicks returns to the old 300 days of kicking some serious ass.  His Banning is stoic, but not wooden which some action hero roles sometimes fall under, tough but warm hearted to Asher’s son Connor, and humorous without coming off as trying to hard. Being nitpicky, he tries to keep his Scottish accent from slipping but sometimes you can see him twisting his mouth in order to do that, again that’s being nitpicky

The action in the movie is fun, enjoyable, and brutal (in the good action movie way) to watch. Besides the take over, Butler’s Banning likes to kill some of the bad guys a certain way that some of you may like. Like I said at the beginning it does have a 90’s action feel to it but enough that it hurts the movie.

What does hurt the movie is some of the CGI. It feels a bit clucky at times and other times a bit on the cheesy side. The movie also goes through some tonal changes a bit but action movie nowadays tend to do that.

All in all, Olympus Has Fallen is being labeled the “Die Hard in the White House” movie and at times it is. Butler proves that he can come back to the action genre where he belongs and the action in the movie is badass enough that you can forgive some the tonal changes and clucky CGI.

Olympus Has Fallen

4 out of 5