Review: Are The Snowman & Geostorm fun bad?

© The Hollywood Reporter

We’re not above deriving enjoyment from terrible movies – as witnessed here – so it should not surprise you we were first in line to buy tickets for The Snowman and Geostorm. Given the disastrous box office earnings both are collecting, we might as well have been the only ones. Going into these movies we knew we’d be in for subpar material, but the real question is: how enjoyably bad are these two failures?

Geostorm (dir. Dean Devlin, cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris)

We’ve been anticipating this one for a while now, if only because of how hilariously outdated the premise sounded even when it was first announced. It’s no surprise Dean Devlin was behind this weird mix of Armageddon & 2012, in which a network of satellites meant to control the disastrous weather on earth goes haywire. Devlin may not have had anything to do with those two movies, but as a writer he was one of the two “minds” behind the disaster movie that (re)started it all: Independence Day.

The other “mind” is director Roland Emmerich, who after directing Independence Day moved on to similar fare such as The Day After Tomorrow2012. This time around it’s Dean Devlin’s turn to go behind the cameras, and the results are even worse.

For some reason someone somewhere decided to grant Devlin a $120 million dollar budget, for a disaster movie headlined by B-listers Gerard Butler & Jim Sturgess. If this wasn’t the year of sexual abuse revelations we’d call that person the biggest fuck-up in recent Hollywood history.

Is Geostorm fun bad: No. We hate to say it, but Geostorm does not live up to the good bad movie expectations. There’s some enjoyment to be had from how generic Devlin’s script is (a dog is put in danger, Ed Harris is in the movie and we’re expected to not suspect him when the plot hints at a villain orchestrating the madness, lame one-liners galore) but overall this is a slog to sit through.

We had high hopes when the movie started with a terribly cheesy voice-over by Butler’s film daughter, but the movie quickly jettisons the cheesy sentiment that made Armageddon so enjoyable, opting to have us focus on some kind of conspiracy regarding these weather-controlling satellites and a dull report between Butler & Sturgess as alienated brothers.

You’d expect the disaster scenes to save the movie somewhat, but we don’t see as many of these as we’d have hoped, and they’re mostly lacking in build-up. Both humourless and not taking itself seriously enough, Geostorm fails to bring the laughs.

We did however enjoy the last 20 minutes, where the whole plot gets wrapped up quickly, and cheap drama, twists and explosions take over the movie, but too little too late.

The Snowman (dir. Tomas Alfredson, cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer)

We were surprised to see some people get hyped up over the trailer for The Snowman, because to us the Norwegian set thriller in which Michael Fassbender hunts down a serial killer who’s into building and drawing snowmen looked ridiculous from the start.

Director Tomas Alfredson blames the poorly received reception on not having been able to shoot around 10-15% of the script, but having suffered through this movie we can only be thankful it didn’t last even longer.

The Snowman is an almost painful experience to watch. At the center of it all is Michael Fassbender’s Harry Hole. An alcoholic detective who might be an asshole, but is also the best at his job (here’s where the yawns begin). Hole gets a letter from the titular serial killer, and then… holds on to that letter, and… uh… shows it to someone…

It seems that with the script being filled with cliches, The Snowman decides to counter the melodrama by delivering every scene in an understated way. For a movie about a serial killer, there’s a very weird lack of energy and urgency to the movie. In fact when we get to the cliche scene of our hero needing someone else’s car keys and phone to get to a suspect, he doesn’t yell like in other similar thrillers, he just politely asks his co-worker. And then thanks him for borrowing keys and phone. It’s utterly bizarre.

Is The Snowman fun bad: No. This movie’s less of a trainwreck, and more of a train that never left the station. It’s unbelievably inert, leaving lead actors Fassbender and especially Rebecca Ferguson stranded with underwritten motivations amidst a sea of cliches.

To be fair, there is enjoyment to be had from discussing how bizarre and sleepy the tone of the movie is, but keep in mind there is a very high chance you’ll fall asleep while trying to actually sit through this one.

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