Sound Off! Geostorm

Welcome back to Sound Off!, a semi-regular column where members of Speculative Chic gather together to chat about the latest BIG THING in entertainment. This time, check the weather report and discuss Geostorm, which premiered in the United States on Friday, October 20, 2017.

Sound Off! is meant to be a reaction, but not necessarily a review. After all, while we are all individuals, even mutual love of something (or hate) can come from different places: you may find everything from critique to fangirling to maybe even hate-watching.

Now, join J.L. Gribble as she talks about Geostorm[Note: Spoiler free!]

J.L.: Despite the intense mocking I received from a variety of sources that I dared to see this film on opening weekend, Geostorm was actually a pretty good disaster movie. I won’t say it was amazing, because suspension of disbelief can only take you so far, but this film managed to avoid most of the pitfalls that plague disaster movies and shift them from the absurd to the terrible. (Obviously, this movie was still gleefully absurd.)

At their core, disaster movies aren’t really about the disasters. They’re about the people we’re following through the disasters. If we can’t connect with them, the movie is already toast. In Geostorm, however, the focus is on a fairly believable broken relationship between the two main male characters. The bonds of their brotherhood have been strained due to conflicts related to their jobs, and being forced to work together again is the main interpersonal conflict of the film.

But hey, isn’t the primary relationship in a disaster movie supposed to be an awkward “new” romance between two characters who probably wouldn’t give each other the time of day if the world wasn’t coming down around them? Refreshingly, the only romantic relationship featured in Geostorm is a previously established relationship based on equal partnership. Not something shoehorned into the main plot line to humanize the hero.

Note that I said “equal partnership.” Even more refreshingly, the main female characters of this film are all competent experts in their fields, whether it be Secret Service agent, computer guru, and oh yeah, the chief scientist in charge of hundreds of people on a (still ridiculous) space station. None of these women ever need a convenient rescue from a man to save their life. Instead, they do a decent amount of saving on their own.

Alas, none of these badass women really talk to each other. So, this movie still doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. Nice to see that we’re getting closer, though.

But enough about the people. While relationships form the heart of a story, this is a disaster movie, and we’re here for the spectacle. The special effects here are top-notch, and this movie includes all the ridiculous destruction you can handle. Of course, the physics and science used are still absolutely terrible, especially in the numerous space scenes. But I guess it’s not a near-future science-fiction movie if I’m not muttering, “It doesn’t work like that” or, “They can’t do that” to myself in the theater. Or laughing out loud during really inappropriate moments because I’m busy counting the ways the characters in space have already doomed themselves.

I’d love to see this movie again with a weather/environmental expert for more entertainment value, because even I know that’s not how tsunamis work.

Just like the space station, the climate change science used in this film requires significant suspension of disbelief. However, the climate change message itself doesn’t beat the audience over the head. It’s a reminder that despite how much we’re mucking up the planet, our worst enemies are still each other.


  • Lane Robins October 24, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Sounds like a fun guilty pleasure movie. I did have to laugh at io9’s review which declared it a movie spent watching actors staring into computer screens.

    • steelvictory October 24, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      I read that review but I can’t say I agree with it. There were some computer-based plot points, but otherwise it was much more action-oriented.


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