Geostorm Blu-ray Review

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Gerard Butler’s Stormy Season

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The only ones crying during Geostorm’s emotional finish will be scientists. After enduring 90-minutes of bunk climate science, phony computer hacking, and space weather lasers, Geostorm certainly elicits emotion – the wrong ones.

But fine, it’s escapist entertainment. Forget the science for a moment. There’s Gerard Butler in the lead, the anti-authority genius who designed a weather-controlling space laser to combat severe storms. There’s a government conspiracy, unraveled by Butler and his distanced brother. Audiences discover the conspiracy through a number of eye-rolling and egregious dialog scenes, painfully stilted in their expository delivery. In interviews, director Dean Devlin stated the initial idea came from the mind of his six-year daughter. Most of the dialog seems written for that age group.

Geostorm’s pitiful mess of a story concerns a Democratic American president, running for reelection, while someone in his inner circle weaponizes the climate change-fixing satellite system hovering around Earth. Gleefully, Geostorm presents a political fantasy wherein Earth works in unison to solve the impact of climate, and build the solution.

It’s over-the-top vilifying nonsense, riddled with offensive levels of stupidity

Progressively minded, Geostorm’s preposterous execution sees a man hoping for, “America to be like 1945,” or “great again” in no uncertain terms. He shoots climate lasers at Russia, floods Middle Eastern locations, and blows up the Democratic National Convention. This in the year the real world American President shied away from the Paris Climate Accord.

It’s over-the-top vilifying nonsense, riddled with offensive levels of stupidity and nowhere near enough satisfying destruction. The production reeks of B-grade design, and looks the part. Dubious effects struggle to legitimize the concept. Then again, this is a movie where hurricanes “die” when shot with missiles. No visual effect house on this globe could make that look feasibly real, much as the right’s weather satellite conspiracy groups believe otherwise.

Devlin relies on old-fashioned Hollywood tricks, some even his own. As a slew of tornadoes tear up India, a little boy yells for his dog, recounting a scene from Independence Day. A tidal wave smashes into Abu Dhabi, not all that dissimilar to Roland Emmerich’s 2012. It’s odd – the worst stuff happens everywhere but the U.S., slamming the Middle East and Russia freely. Stateside, a lightning storm takes potshots at Florida. That’s it. If Geostorm’s villainous plot is to give America total control of the weather machine, someone is likely to figure this one out.

Video

Although Warner tends to strongly support 3D at home, Geostorm is only available on standard Blu-ray. It’s a fair presentation, hampered by so-so clarity and softened cinematography. Fine detail is reserved for the big money, gorgeously resolving digital cities and satellites. In close on the actors, a slight bloom covers fidelity. Only a handful produce any sharp definition.

With few exceptions, Geostorm delivers excellent contrast. Powerful sunlight pours over a plethora of the imagery, with deep blacks adding to the visible dimensionality. Shadow detail is rarely impeded.

Varying palettes give off both cool and warm tones, scene dependent. Space station interiors cool off, scenes on Earth warm up, particularly desert scenes as expected. It’s enough to offer Geostorm saturation and frequently natural flesh tones.

Warner’s encode does battle a consistent stream of noise. While this varies in thickness, Geostorm does look a touch dirty as a result. The digital cinematography lacks the clarity expected of modern productions.

Audio

The DTS-HD 5.1 mix is certainly restrictive. While giving great extension on the low-end (and often), surround use lacks precision. During the Orlando lightning storm, electricity crackles around the soundstage, if without force. It’s muddy and indistinct. The same goes for the variety of tidal waves, with rushing water panning by. Rear channels sound smashed together and compressed to fit the 5.1 format.

At least the LFE performs, generating sizable thrust and rumble to match the screen’s scale. A plane smashing into the ground hits with force. Explosions feel weighted and tight. Excellent dynamic range offers Geostorm enough power to even out the positional weakness.

Extras

Wreaking Havoc is the first of three pale featurettes. This one deals with the storm ideas and visual effects. The Search for Answers looks into the initial concept, while An International Event looks at the cast. It’s 15-minutes of total content. Bleh.

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