Like any actor who finds themselves a regular leading man, Gerard Butler’s cinematic output has had notable highs and lows over the years since he grew to prominence in the early-to-mid-2000s. And one of his worst movies, disaster flick Geostorm, has now found itself placing high in the Netflix rankings, sitting at #18 on the streamer’s Top 20 most-watched global chart.
The feature directorial debut of Dean Devlin, a writer and producer of multiple blockbusters almost exclusively in association with Roland Emmerich, the film sees natural disasters averted by a network of orbital satellites that can alter the Earth’s climate in localized areas, only for the system to seemingly malfunction after just a few years. Increasingly devastating weather breaks out all over the world, eventually threatening to culminate in a global catastrophe as the forces of nature that have been held back are fully unleashed. Brought in the save humanity is Jake Lawson (Butler), the satellites’ designer who was fired after bringing it online to neutralize a deadly typhoon before he was authorized to do so, and while investigating in orbit, he and his terrestrial allies uncover a conspiracy.
The film is just as utterly preposterous as that synopsis makes it sound, and despite numerous set pieces featuring the likes of tornadoes, cold snaps, heat waves, tsunamis, hail, firestorms and lightning strikes assaulting various recognizable international metropolises, its events are surprisingly dull. As Jake, Gerard Butler is the most prominent presence and showcases the same generically gruff charm that forms the basis of his fame, but even with a supporting cast including Jim Sturgess, Zazie Beetz, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia, none of the characters leave much of an impression after the credits roll.
Disaster movies were once one of the most profitable genres, wildly successful in the ‘70s and enjoying a resurgence in the ‘90s due to increased CGI capabilities allowing for more elaborate carnage combined with the mounting paranoia over the imminent turn of the millennium. Geostorm, however, arriving well over a decade and a half after such fare fell from popularity, is little more than a footnote alongside far greater examples.