Review – Weather You Like It Or Not (“Geostorm”)

It’s blender time, kiddies! Pour in chunks of 2012, Into the Storm, San Andreas, all the Sharknado films, Deep Impact, and sprinkle with liberal amounts of every other disaster film you’ve ever seen, and top it off with a bunch of B-film actors, and wallah! You have this weeks movie that will be in Walmart’s $5 DVD bin in six month time, tops.

Laughable, ludicrous, insanely stupid, and completely pointless, Geostorm is like one of those on-line fan-fiction stories written by a fourteen-year-old, but without all the gratuitous sex. The set-up is standard: the Earth is facing global catastrophe with its weather patterns shifting (that global warming stuff again) and the e-z fix is building a really impressive ginormous weather-controlling space station with a global net that encircles the planet. I’m not sure if Tony Stark had anything to do with this, but his electronic fingerprints are everywhere!

Dubbed the ‘Dutchboy Project’, it’s built & run by acerbic Jake Lawson (Gerald Butler) who considers this giant station his baby, neglecting Hannah (Talitha Bateman), his own 13-year-old daughter, who talks like she’s thirty. Jake also has major authority issues, especially with Max (Jim Sturgess), his younger brother and who works under Secretary of State, Leonard Dekkom (Ed Harris). After a snafu with Dutchboy (an Afghan town freezes over and Hong Kong has a serious heat spike), Jake heads up to the space station to figure out the malfunction.

Meanwhile Max, his very cute, but hard-core Secret Service girlfriend (Abbie Cornish), and friendly computer hacker (Zazie Beetz), are coming to grips with the fact that Dutchboy’s glitchs may have been programmed by someone who wanted them to happen! So while Jake and his team aboard the space station are going crazy trying to prevent the satellites from firing off catastrophe after catastrophe on Earth (massive tornadoes in India, tsunamis in Mumbai, monstrous lightning storms in Miami), Max is having problems of his own on Earth.

He just uncovered the diabolical Project Zeus, the computer virus on-board the Dutchboy that will wipe out almost life on Earth, but who planted it? Surely, not the POTUS (Andy Garcia) who’s up for reelection?! But it’s time for the final act and dragging out every cliché, deus ex machina, and tired old trope in the book. Yes, there’s even the boring countdown clock that you KNOW is gonna stop at “:00001”, right before the cataclysmic disaster happens. Yawn.

This hackneyed script was written by Paul Guyot, who has only written for TV shows like Leverage and The Librarians, and director Dean Devlin who is no stranger to terribly written movies, as he wrote the awful Independence Day: Resurgence and that laughable 1998 Godzilla reboot with Matthew Broderick. Yeah, quality all the way here, people. All these types of disaster films have one thing in common: showing off the latest in CG software, massive destruction of cities, and depicting untold loss of human life on a global scale. Entertaining stuff, right?

This is one of those ‘paycheck’ movie for the actors; they just show up, do their lines, and get paid a nice chunk of change. Butler cruises through along with Sturgess (who reminds me of Andrew Garfield in his acting), but the real fun is watching veteran actors Garcia and Harris chew the scenery. And what’s with young Bateman talking like she’s a middle-aged divorced mom? She’s a kid, for cryin’ out loud! Have her TALK like one! Another shame is wasting the talent of Eugenio Derbez, Mexico’s superstar actor, who’s here only in an extended cameo. Sheesh!

The Avengers (1998)

No, not those Avengers! Back in 1998 someone at Warner Bros got the bright idea to take the brilliant BBC-TV spy show, The Avengers, that starred Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg, and remake it for the big screen. Not only was it a bad idea, but it seriously bombed at the box office. Could it be because it starred Lord Voldemort, Poison Ivy, and had James Bond as a villain?

The movie, such as it is, centers around Sir August DeWynter (Sean Connery), a weather scientist, madman, and terrorist who has taken over the Prospero Project, a giant machine that can influence the weather! What does he plan to do with it? Just like Dr. Evil, he plans on unleashing its deadly forces upon the world unless he’s paid $$$! Bwahahahahahaha!! Enter our heroes, suave and sophisticated bowler-hatted John Steed (Ralph Fiennes) and his lovely partner, Emma Peel (Uma Thurman). These two British super-spies are under the care of Ministry Director, “Mother” (Jim Broadbent).

Naturally, these two go after DeWynter, but are hampered by his clones that look like Emma Peel that do his dirty work for him. Steed and Emma follow clues to Wonderland Weather, a business run by DeWynter that (are you ready for this?) the members all wear giant fluffy teddy bear suits to disguise their identities. Yeah, weird. Emma gets to fight with her own clone while Steed speaks with Invisible Jones (Patrick McNee in his beleaguered cameo).

There’s more fights, an attack with mechanical bees, giant hamster-ball lake crossings, and other odd stuff. In the end, a direct rip-off of the ending from Star Trek: Insurrection, the good guys win and DeWynter faces the winter of his discontent. This was Don MacPherson’s one and only screenplay, as he only wrote a few British TV shows. Directed by Jeremiah S. Checik (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Benny & Joon), this had all the potential of making the transition from the TV screen to the big screen possible. The direction wasn’t half-bad, but the script was DOA. It was obvious that MacPherson never watched any of the BBC- TV series to ‘get’ what it all about.

There was no zip, no quirkiness, no spark of intelligence, and worse yet, no chemistry between Thurman and Fiennes. Needless to say, critics mercilessly bashed this movie, calling it a film SO bad it made Ishtar and Howard the Duck look good! You could tell that all the principals in the movie were clearly not having a good time (Connery having to wear a huge teddy bear suit? How embarrassing!). It did, however, score big time at the Razzie Awards, grabbing everything from Worst Picture to Worst Accent, so I guess that’s something, right?

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