When catastrophic climate change endangers Earth's very survival, world governments unite and create the Dutch Boy Program: a world wide net of satellites, surrounding the planet, that are armed with geoengineering technologies designed to stave off the natural disasters. After successfully protecting the planet for two years, something is starting to go wrong. Two estranged brothers are tasked with solving the program's malfunction before a world wide Geostorm can engulf the planet.
Directed by: Dean Devlin
. Starring: Talitha Eliana Bateman
, Gerard Butler
, Abbie Cornish
, Jim Sturgess
, Ed Harris
, Andy Garcia
, Zazie Beetz
, Robert Sheehan
, Eugenio Derbez
, Mare Winningham
, Alexandra Maria Lara
, Daniel Wu
, Jeremy Ray Taylor
. Music by: Lorne Balfe
The story begins two years from now when, told via VO of a young girl accompanied by state-of-the-art screen images, the devastating climatic catastrophes we experience today (such as killer storms) have reached uncontrollable global proportion. But then, the planet we called home is saved by one man, a brilliant scientist leading a team reflecting unprecedented international cooperation. A global weather satellite system fondly called the Dutch Boy is put in place, restoring the Earth's climatic situation to normal. "This man is my father" the pleasant girlish VO tells us.
To cut a long story short, this brilliant but somewhat undiplomatically egotistic man Jake (Gerard Butler) is fired by the bureaucratic US government, through his own, reluctant younger brother Max (Jim Sturgess) who has a job in high places. Three years later problems start to occur with Dutch Boy and it is just two weeks before the US president (Andy Garcia) is obliged to turn over control of the "damaged good" (his own words) to an international governing body. The problem needs to be fixed, urgently, in-house. Only one man can do it. Needless to say, as the plot goes, this is not just mechanical malfunction. Otherwise the script wound have been tossed into the garbage can.
The rest is pretty much execution of an all-too-familiar template. Here's a check list. End-of-humanity proportion disaster, check. Conspiracy, not-too-subtle twists, check. Family situations (sibling issue, father-daughter love), check. Other human relations (romance, comradeship, sacrificing hero), check. Emotional moments (crowd cheering in control room, one-on-one poignancy), check. Mandatory action (fists, guns, car chase), check. Narrow escapes (macro and micro, both), check. Impressive set pieces, dazzling 3D CGI, check. Funny moments and punch-lines ("honey?", "marry her!" both uttered by the president), check.
Screen technology aside, the selling point of this sort of fall market crowd pleaser is the cast, not so much in in-depth acting as in entertaining acting. Butler has sufficiently commanding screen presence to pull the lead role off. Among Sturgess's abundant screen work I best remember "Across the universe" (2007), attribute to the Beatle's songs. Garcia makes one classy president.
Abbie Cornish who plays the top Whitehouse security officer as well as Max's fiancée (against White House regulations) is not just a pretty face. While she more than sufficiently demonstrated her acting skill in "Bright Star" (2009), her credentials for the tough-as-nail, ass-kicking agent here is "Sucker Punch" (2011). Playing the Secretary of State (Max's boss) is Ed Harris who does not steal every scene he appears in. He simply grabs them. I am particularly happy to see him twice within 4 days, the previous one being "mother!". Starting as VO and then appearing as Jake's 13-year-old daughter Hannah is Talitha Eliana Bateman, winning the audience's heart hands down. Hong Kong heartthrob Daniel Wu and no stranger to Hollywood plays a scientist (a team member of the Dutch Boy project), not too small a role in this ensemble line up. Romanian born Alexandra Maria Lara plays the space station commander who, through the common task of saving mankind, develops a bonding with Jake that eventually shows distinct romance possibilities.
One more thing: there is one jab at the America-rules-the-world mentality although in the movie (spoiler) it is not expressed by the incumbent (or, as a better choice of word reigning) president.
Review by Harry T. Yung from the Internet Movie Database.