A film that was a box-office bomb
"If Dutch Boy has a catastrophic failure, it can create something far worse than the very thing we're trying to prevent. What we call a geostorm."
was conceived as writer and producer Dean Devlin tried to explain climate change to his young daughter. After taking some construction paper and some crayons to do so, it seems he segued into writing the script for this. At some point, he called on a friend for help because apparently he can't write good. After some studio "hot potato-ing", the project ended up on Warner Bros' lap, who threw $82 million to Devlin so he could buy more expensive crayons. 3 years, an additional $20 million, and a few poor test screenings later, WB decided to hire some older kids to color around the edges to try to fix this mess. But you know, how many of you have tried to fix one of your children's drawings? The result is what you would expect from a poorly conceived and written, disaster of a disaster film that's gone over-budget and over-schedule.
is set in a not-so-distant future where climate change has already wreaked havoc around the world. To neutralize this, an international coalition designed a network of satellites dubbed "Dutch Boy" to stabilize the climate around the world. But when chief architect Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) uses "Dutch Boy" to stop a storm without following the proper procedures, the government gives him the boot and replaces him with his younger brother Max (Jim Sturgess). Keep in mind that all this happens in narration and mentions during the prologue and the first scene. No action yet. Fast forward a couple years, a series of climate disturbances start happening around the world, and the government decides to send *cue ominous music* ONE MAN *end cue* to check the satellites. So, of course, they send Jake into space for his needed redemption, while Max stays on Earth trying to uncover the conspiracy behind everything.
I admit I'm a sucker for disaster movies. It doesn't matter if it's storms, earthquakes, meteors, or tornadoes, there's something fascinatingly creepy about seeing cities leveled by the forces of nature. But disaster films need something beyond this to work. Whether it's compelling drama between the characters involved, or simply great action moments and thrilling setpieces. Deep Impact
, which is a personal favorite, relied on the former by fabricating solid drama across a huge ensemble cast, while Twister
relied on the latter with some decent moments of action and tension. Geostorm
has nothing; not even the titular "geo storm", whatever that it. Heck, even The Day After Tomorrow
has our lead characters chased by "cold air", but there is nothing here. There is a mildly thrilling moment where excessive heat causes underground gas mains to explode in Hong Kong while a (very) secondary character drives away from the wreckage, but that's about it. The mere threat of a made-up natural disaster on a highly improbable, futuristic situation doesn't cut it. As it is, the climax of the film is reduced to a clichéd race against time as a space station is set to self-destruct.
With no effective set pieces or action moments on its favor, the film could've focused on the drama and the character dynamics. But neither Jake and Max's rivalry, nor Jake's relationship with his estranged daughter are properly written or developed. Plus, even if the script were good enough, I don't think Butler and Sturgess have the acting chops to carry the drama either. In addition, there's a group of token international actors stationed in space, but most of them do nothing. That is, unless you count the moment where the Mexican character screams "Thank the Mexican!" after saving a certain character (Get it? He's Mexican!). Finally, Andy García and Ed Fucking Harris are wasted in thankless roles as the President and his Secretary of State, which proves that even the greatest actors can sink under the pressure of a mediocre script and a stupid story.
was a mess from its conception, that turned into a bigger mess during production and devolved into a worst mess during and after filming. In the end, it ended up opening to much less than what was expected, finishing second behind one of Tyler Perry's Madea Halloween
films, and grossed much less than what they thought it would. After the dust settled, the studio ended up losing $72 million dollars. Maybe not the catastrophic failure that other blockbusters have been, but I'm struggling to think of something far worse than your big budget film losing to a Freakin' Madea film.