“Thanks to a system of satellites, natural disasters have become a thing of the past. We can control our weather.”
~ President Palma in Geostorm

Check it out!

By Your Culture Scout

As far as disaster movies go, producer/director Dean Devlin comes with a great pedigree. A long-time collaborator of director Roland Emmerich, the master of the genre, he co-wrote with him and produced Independence Day, Stargate and Godzilla. Writing a movie and directing is not the same though, and Devlin’s film debut in Geostorm had a weak box office opening and is heading for some substantial losses. However, before the movie disappears from the local multiplexes, it is worth checking out for a one good reason- its vision of the future.

This is a vision of a very near future in which a system of satellites has been developed to protect Earth from bad weather. The satellites are released from an international space station to create a literal net around the planet. The program, named Dutch Boy for the little boy who prevented the flood in the famous story from Holland, is manned by scientists from dozens of countries. It was developed and administered by the U.S. but the directorship of the program is about to be turned to an international organization with the United Nations stewardship. Then, one day, some satellites start malfunctioning, freak weather conditions destroy lives from Afghanistan to Hong Kong, and a gruff scientist who actually designed the program (Gerard Butler in this strange role of half hero and half asshole) has to literally save the planet. If he fails, the entire planet will be enveloped in a “geostorm,” a confluence of global bad weather (tornadoes, extreme temperatures, tsunamis etc.) which, once they reach a critical mess, will destroy everything.

If the story sounds a bit too simplified… well it is. We have seen many Earth-in-jeopardy movies before and this fairly simplified disaster movie provides some entertainment but a lot of annoyances with clichés and a clumsy narrative. What makes this movie worth watching is not the storyline, not the hokey science of a “geostorm” itself, but a background of the story which is a vision of a near-future space program.

If you invested or are interested in aerospace industries and you would like to visualize where your money would go, this is a good movie to speed your imagination along. And even if you did not invest in space but still would like to see where all these trillions might have gone- it’s up all there on the screen. On Earth, you can see not one rocket but rows of space shuttles which are constantly going on like city buses directly from Cape Canaveral into space. Above Earth, the actual space station can compete with the Star Wars galactic architecture- vast living chambers, satellite maintenance yards, launching pads etc. The imagery has been already onscreen with Interstellar, and the same futurist concept is seen here – this must be where the future iterations of the current, modest space station are heading. Geostorm production designers have also created an image of space silos from which swarms of satellites are being periodically launched and which release weather-controlling devices that rain onto the planet. The vast swatches of space above Earth are covered with a net – presumably to allow satellites’ movement and a maintenance retrieval.

The very theme of the movie also raises the issue of geoengineering – a concept of manipulating climate change and the existing weather through emerging technologies. While an actual “geostorm” is unlikely, at least according to the scientists, the research and attempts at geoengineering are probably here to stay.

All in all, if even you do not check Geostorm in cinemas, it is worth keeping in mind when it arrives at your local streaming service. May be we are not yet managing global weather but all the space research and related investments are here to stay.

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