disaster movies

So What Exactly Is Going On With Gerard Butler’s Geostorm?

Photo: Ben Rothstein/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

In the middle of this fall’s big tentpole movies — Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok — sits little Geostorm, the Gerard Butler movie just trying its very best. Without having seen Geostorm, because it is, ominously, not screening for critics, I can say that it looks like a total cinematic turducken: a political-intrigue drama inside of a space-station thriller inside of an environmental disaster inside of a movie poster that is stunningly identical to Inception’s. Which is to say, I have a lot of questions about this movie, and I’m sure you do, too. Let’s explore them together.

Why are we talking about this movie?
Gerard Butler. But the production drama alone would make for a pretty compelling HBO limited series, or maybe a three-episode Entourage arc. Geostorm started shooting in Louisiana in fall 2014 (that’s, like, before Trump even announced). It was slated to come out in October 2016, but when a cut of the movie was shown to test audiences in December 2015, Geostorm looked like a dud. Afterward, The Hollywood Reporter reported that up to $15 million was being spent on reshoots, and Jerry Bruckheimer was brought in to oversee them. The movie’s director, Dean Devlin, wasn’t on set for the reshoots, even though the changes were “significant.”

Dean Devlin?
He’s co-produced a lot of Roland Emmerich movies.

Yeah. Anyway, during the reshoots, new characters were added, an actress (Dark Tower’s Katheryn Winnick) was recast, and Terminator Genisys/Shutter Island screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis wrote new pages. Danny Cannon, who has mostly done TV work since directing the Sylvester Stallone movie Judge Dredd, directed the reshoots.

Okay, so what’s Geostorm about?
Gerard Butler. He’s been in a couple movies. Also went to Wimbledon with Bradley Cooper that one time.

Okay, but actually …
As I said — Gerard Butler. Very few people seem to have actually seen this movie yet, but strangely, the Wikipedia page details its entire plot. So let’s get into it. There’s a natural-disaster defense system with a series of satellites orbiting the earth, controlled by the International Climate Space Station. This defense system is nicknamed “Dutch Boy.” Gerard Butler (“Jake Lawson”) created and operated Dutch Boy, but then he, like, went crazy during a Senate subcommittee hearing. After the fallout from that incident, he was replaced by his brother.

Who’s his brother?
Gerard Butler’s brother is Jim Sturgess. When Jim Sturgess (“Max Lawson”) is in charge of Dutch Boy, a freak glitch in the system causes a village in Afghanistan to freeze. The president wants to cover up the whole thing to avoid war, which means one man needs to go up to the International Climate Space Station alone to see what’s what. Jim Sturgess suggests Gerard Butler.

So then what happens?
Other crazy climate stuff, like a heat wave in Hong Kong. Basically, all the good guys (Butler, Sturgess) and their compatriots get locked out of Dutch Boy.

Wait, Dutch Boy?
Please, let’s stay focused. The men spend a while trying to investigate before a deputy figures out that the whole system has been infected by a virus that predicts and executes natural disasters. Gerard Butler suspects the president is behind this.

No. The president in Geostorm is Andy García, although going from Bellagio owner in the Ocean’s movies to Geostorm president is a very Trump-era rise.

Is President Andy García brought to justice?
Well, yes, in the most National Treasure way possible: Gerard Butler kidnaps the president. Stunningly, it turns out Secretary of State Ed Harris wanted to weaponize Dutch Boy and use it to kill enemies of the United States and everyone running against President Andy García. After some random drama involving supporting characters, they realize that they can stop the impending Geostorm, but they can’t save the ICSS. Once everyone is safe, Gerard Butler gets his job back!

Anything else I should know?
Well, there is this utter bastardization of Cash Cab:

What Exactly Is Going On With Gerard Butler’s Geostorm?