GEOSTORM,  US, 2017.  Starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Robert Sheehan, Richard Schiff, Mare Winningham, Zazie Beetz. Directed by Dean Devlin. 109 minutes. Rated M (Mature themes and violence).

There is always an audience for a disaster movie. Ever since such films as The Poseidon Adventure in the 1970s brought widescreen misadventures, on ships, at airports, on flights, in towering Infernos, rollercoasters, audiences have relished the opportunities for identification with characters in perilous situations.

The star of this film is Gerard Butler who previously had appeared in Olympus has Fallen and London has Fallen. He has always save the day, even saving the American president in peril. Perhaps the writers of this film have had more than an eye on the Has Fallen franchise because once again there is an American president and this film might have been called ‘Earth has Fallen’.

This is the future although the sequences on Earth look fairly familiar.

17 nations have combined to create an extraordinary space station, Dutch Boy, which will be able to control any crisis on Earth, especially those caused by climate change. The person behind the whole project is Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler, who might have been the better choice to portray Jack Reacher!). But, he is one of those individualistic heroes and falls foul of the Washington bureaucracy who sack him. The new man in charge is Jake’s younger brother, Max (Jim Sturgess), more the bookish and bureaucratic type. He is in a relationship with a Secret Service agent (Abbie Cornish proving that any female officer is more than the equivalent of a male officer).

Things begin to go wrong. An isolated village in Afghanistan is frozen. A lot of Hong Kong is destroyed by rising temperatures and ensuing fire. For the record, other cities which we see being destroyed include Tokyo, Moscow and Red Square, the freezing of the beachfront in Rio, a tsunami overwhelming Dubai, storms in Mumbai… For audiences with a penchant for seeing cities destroyed, Geostorm should be high on the list.

Needless to say, who has to go back to rectify everything on Dutch Boy but Jake, with Max supervising him. While Geostorm is something of a Space Odyssey of the 21st century, it is not any HAL computer that is the villain. The villain is an ambitious human – and our options are the US president, Andy Garcia, or the Secretary of State, Ed Harris.

And there is a mercenary agent on Dutch Boy and some rogue activity in the space station. Which means that Jake has a lot to do, discovering the virus that is infecting files, unmasking the villain on the space station, checking with Max as to who is the villain on Earth – with the culmination at a Florida Democratic Presidential Election rally.

If you want to see an enormous space station exploding, here it is.

But, with the new head of the space station, Alexandra Maria Lara, Jake is able to save the day.

It might be much as you would expect, though probably more spectacularly so, plenty of special effects and action, entertaining in its way.

Roadshow                            Released 12th October

Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.

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