starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia
written by Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot
directed by Dean Devlin
This is a disaster film featuring satellite designer Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) who tries to save the world from a meteorological storm of epic proportions caused by malfunctioning climate-controlling satellites in orbit. It’s stylish to make disaster films that mimic, or reflect temporary cultural fears: climate disaster due to Global Warming; social disaster due to Artificial Intelligence; medical disaster due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria or otherwise contagious, incurable disease; nuclear disaster due to rogue terrorists, disgruntled spies, or pathological patriots, Armageddon at the hands of insane religious or collusion with objects in space, etc.
In the wake of a mounting wave of increasingly destructive natural disasters (due to uncontrolled Global Warming), an international coalition commissions a system of climate-controlling satellites called "Dutch Boy" - largely funded by the United States, but designed, built and operated by a multinational team. As long as Dutch Boy is working properly it is supposed to neutralize developing mega-storms on Earth - the ferocity of which is cultivated by Global Warming climate change. The idea is that if the space-based climate control systems fail then the Earth will be engulfed in an unstoppable global weather conflagration, called “Geostorm.” Yeah, right. At this point I thought of the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow (directed by Roland Emmerich) which I enjoyed when I saw it several years ago.
The film weaves climate science with action and political conspiracy to create fast-paced action and ballooning intrigue. Some “patriotic” elements within the Washington, D.C. administration - within the White House itself - resist the American government’s obligation to turn over command authority of the Dutch Boy space station and satellite network to the United Nations. Politicians rather inaccurately think that since “we” built it (paid for it), then it belongs to “us,” and the treaty obligation to hand administrative control over to the United Nations is without merit. Typical.
To discredit international control of the system a rebel within the White House Cabinet (Secretary of State Leonard Dekkom, played by Ed Harris) secretly and cleverly sabotages the satellites’ operating system, leading to weather disasters on earth. The sabotage is designed to make it look like a systems failure, a technological failing, rather than, say, an attack by hostile elements like a terrorist organization or a foreign government. That means that evidence of tampering has to be erased from all the digital records of the system - a practical impossibility, really. Jake Lawson learns of this and sets out not only to save the space station and satellite system that he designed - his babies - but to uncover the evil plot and save the world.
As the satellites and the space station begin to experience malfunction and systems failure there are explosions and damage. Explosions in space lead to a lot of floating debris and shrapnel. A large part of this movie featured flying shrapnel, much like the 1998 asteroid collision movie Armageddon (directed by Michael Bay). It was a bit annoying, really, all these explosions, structural collapse, and flying debris. Almost boring. But maybe young people like that sort of thing, especially if it’s in 3D. I don’t.
Ed Harris plays a good villain. I mean he plays it well. He’s a heinous villain. Andy Garcia plays an affable President.