Geostorm and Suburbicon
Greetings! I’m glad to see you guys again. Today’s post is another double feature review. I’m going to discuss a couple cinematic underdogs, specifically Geostorm and Suburbicon. They’re not on the same level as Marvel, Star Wars, or the other blockbuster films this year. But I thought both films looked interesting and worthy of a review on my website. Are either of these movies worth your time? I’ll talk about the strengths and weaknesses of both films. At that point, the judgment call is your choice. I’m going to start with Geostorm and then switch gears to Suburbicon. Let’s jump into the details!
What is Geostorm? In short, it’s a post-apocalyptic disaster movie with a heavy emphasis on environmental catastrophes. The movie begins in the year 2019, very close to our own timeline. Climate change is destroying civilization with massive droughts, floods, heat waves, hurricanes, tornados, etc. If mankind can’t alter the weather, every living being on the planet will die. So, mankind creates a satellite system that controls the weather and all is well. But this is a disaster movie! We can’t have a happy ending yet! Someone takes control of the satellites through a computer virus and turns the weather into a weapon, annihilating entire cities through geological disasters. The characters need to take back control of the satellites and save the world.
Naturally, I’m going to start with the positive elements. Yes, I actually have some good things to say about this film. Geostorm is a really fun popcorn movie. It has a lot of visual effects, good entertainment value, and some humor. Other critics are being very harsh on this film. They must have different expectations than me. I knew this wasn’t going to be a fabulous movie from the beginning. Overall, I was looking for decent entertainment value and Geostorm gave it to me. This film is very campy and it totally works. It uses humor to break up some of the serious undertones. Truthfully, an audience can’t take disaster films seriously. They’re over the top and wacky. The ultra serious disaster movies are just a sad joke. But the campier ones are more entertaining. Geostorm understands its situation and goes with the flow.
The film has plenty of action scenes with cool visual effects. You’ll witness all kinds of global disasters on hyper mode ranging from killer hail storms, gigantic tornadoes, massive tidal waves, and heat waves that can incinerate entire cities. It’s crazy! Geostorm is only an hour and forty-nine minutes in length. That was a good idea because it moves along. The film makers created enough action scenes within the allotted time to make sure the pace wasn’t slow. Are we going to see Geostorm on the ticket for Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards? That might have been the case a couple years ago. I think it has too many competitors this year from other huge franchises. But it still might be a contender. Some of these campy action films actually get attention at the Academy Awards for certain categories.
Believe it or not, Geostorm makes a valid point about climate change. It’s a very divisive topic. Some people have a lot of concerns about climate change and others believe the situation has too many exaggerations. This movie shows what could happen if climate change goes out of control. Should we change some of our habits in the real world? That depends on your point of view. Even though Geostorm is campy, it has some thought provoking concepts.
I was also impressed with the diversity in this film. The world has set aside their petty differences and came together to fight against a common enemy. Audiences will see representatives from many countries who are trying to find solutions to the global problem. We’re stronger together instead of divided. I thought it was a really positive message. Plus, Geostorm has good representation for both men and women. It’s not glorifying either gender or making one of them more dominant than the other. They simply need to work as a team and it’s effective.
Let’s discuss the flaws in this movie. Geostorm just doesn’t have great quality or substance. The plot is silly and completely predictable. I thought it was easy to tell where the plot was heading. It’s a generic disaster film without any special or unique elements. I figured out the identity of the main antagonist when he first appeared in the movie. He just seemed like the right character for the part. Geostorm tries to be a mystery and that part doesn’t work very well. A good mystery keeps the audience guessing. Many people in the audience should be able to piece everything together and it ruins the mystery element.
The characters are also very generic. Their dialogue is awful and the actors don’t seem particularly invested. Gerard Butler plays a brilliant scientist named Jake Lawson. I wasn’t impressed with him, which is nothing new for Gerard Butler. Jake has a tumultuous relationship with his younger brother Max who was played by Jim Sturgess. I rooted for them as a team, but they weren’t very convincing as good characters.
Geostorm felt more like a video game than a blockbuster movie. Gamers should agree with me. The plot, characters, action, and dialogue have the structure of most video games. I suppose that type of structure can work for certain films, but it made this one seem hokey.
This film was Dean Devlin’s directorial debut and it showed. He worked on both Independence Day films and the latest Godzilla movie. Devlin has plenty of experience with disaster movies, but he couldn’t bring everything together in Geostorm. I don’t think he knows how to fit the characters, plot, and visual effects into a cohesive work. Strong visual effects and humor can’t rescue a mediocre film. I don’t think Geostorm had many press screenings before release. Devlin probably didn’t want a flood of bad reviews, but I believe that was a mistake. Everybody should know Geostorm was going to be panned by critics. That’s what happens to disaster films. I believe it hurt Geostorm’s marketing and made audiences feel skeptical. A successful film can’t rely on trailers alone. Hopefully, he can learn from this experience and make better films in the future. I want to be optimistic.
Here’s the million dollar question. Should you see Geostorm in theaters? Well, it depends on your personal taste. Geostorm should actually have a specific target audience. If you like disaster movies, Geostorm is worth the money. I believe this film should also appeal to fans of the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic genres. It fits really well in the mold. This movie would also be a good choice for teenagers. I could picture high school students going out to see this film and enjoying the experience. Do you like video games? Maybe you’ll like Geostorm too. I recommend seeing it on a large screen with good sound. IMAX or similar formats would be a great choice because the visual effects will really stand out.
Let’s move on to Suburbicon. It’s supposed to be a dark comedy and satire. The setting appears to be a fictional version of 1950s America. A family man named Gardner Lodge has an altercation with monsters, leading to the death of his wife. Afterwards, her twin sister named Margaret moves into the house with Gardner and his son. They continue to have serious problems with the mafia while a subplot focuses on an African American family who lives across the street from the Lodge family. The white suburban residents don’t take kindly to their new interracial situation and everything becomes much worse while the story progresses.
I can’t say this movie is any better than Geostorm. However, I can say a few positive elements about it. The cast was pretty good. I thought Matt Damon gave an effective performance as Gardner. Julianne Moore played both twin sisters and she rarely gives disappointing performances. Noah Jupe plays Nicky, Gardner’s son, and the story largely plays through his perspective. I didn’t have any issues with Nicky’s characterization and his point of view made sense. Oscar Isaac played an insurance salesman and his performance was quite entertaining. Unfortunately, his role is very small. I wish they gave him more screen time. The rest of the supporting cast was fine too, including the mobsters.
Suburbicon has great production and costume design. George Clooney put in a lot of effort to bring out the 1950s essence. I thought the hair and clothing looked pretty accurate. Everything had a strong retro vibe, including the neighborhoods, automobiles, appliances, workplaces, hair salon, grocery store, etc. That part seemed very authentic.
The film is a twisted morality tale and I appreciate the effort. Suburbicon addresses serious issues that we continue to have in the modern world. I’m going to avoid spoilers, but it addresses the severity of racism. It also shows that we need to be careful about trusting people. Many people seem wonderful on the outside, but they might have darker intentions. The guilty deserve to face punishment and it makes perfect sense. Some viewers and critics might protest to these issues, but I don’t have a problem with it. In fact, I think it’s completely appropriate to address these problems. Also, I really liked the ending. I suppose it was a happy ending in a naughty way.
The rest of my opinions are mostly negative. Let’s start with the trailers. They’re false advertising. The movie doesn’t resemble the trailers at all. I thought Suburbicon was going to be a violent and bloody comedy. It’s largely a satirical drama. The trailers don’t show an accurate representation of the plot and characters. I guess it was a ploy to bring in a bigger audience. That type of problem irritates me.
Suburbicon’s biggest issues are the writing and directing. Sorry, but I think George Clooney needs to focus on his acting career. The directing is disorganized and the film never comes together very well. I think the plot is quite slow and many of the scenes aren’t fleshed out enough. The Coen brothers wrote the script and I think it was messy. They had a lot of great concepts, but none of the elements develop enough. Honestly, they needed to make the film seem more like the trailers. Suburbicon had a lot of potential to be an entertaining and thought provoking movie, but it didn’t turn out that way.
Furthermore, the movie isn’t funny at all. It tries to be witty on occasion, but I didn’t laugh at anything. The trailers were hilarious, so that was another let down. Humor would bring fun elements to the film and fix some of the pacing issues. I also believe humor works well for satire in general. Why would someone market the film as a dark comedy when it’s not true? I just don’t understand.
Unfortunately, I had a bad feeling before seeing the movie. Suburbicon is affiliated with Dark Castle Entertainment. None of their films are good in my opinion. Dark Castle specializes in horror and action movies, but the quality is usually quite poor. Some of their credits include Ghost Ship, Orphan, The Apparition, Splice, and the House of Wax remake. I guess House on Haunted Hill and The Reaping are a couple of Dark Castle’s more interesting films. Sadly, the odds were against Suburbicon from the beginning. I wanted this movie to be a rare exception, but it didn’t happen.
Should you see Suburbicon in theaters? I don’t think it’s necessary. Just stream it online or rent a Red Box at some point. It has some interesting elements, so I would recommend a home viewing. You just don’t need to spend the money on tickets and movie theater food.
Let’s compare Geostorm and Suburbicon for a moment. They’re completely different films, but I noticed a few similarities. Neither film is particularly good. I wasn’t impressed with either director. Both films give the audience some relevant themes and problems from the real world. I don’t mind when movies give commentaries on modern day issues. Overall, Geostorm had much better entertainment value. It’s a cool film to see on a screen like IMAX, Cinemark XD, or Harkins Cine 1. Unfortunately, both of these movies are on the bottom of my review list this year. That’s how it works sometimes.
Thanks for taking the time to read my reviews. I appreciate the support. Next week’s post will probably be a photo gallery and discussion about my trip to the Dapper Day Expo at the Disneyland Hotel. Maybe it will appeal to the dieselpunk fans. Thanks for visiting and keep your eyes open for next week’s post.
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