As day follows night – The Asylum follows up a blockbuster with a mockbuster. Geo Disaster is The Asylum’s answer to Geostorm – although that film itself feels more like a mockbuster than it should do. Geo Disaster doesn’t follow the same story at all though and plays out as a fun if poorly put together hammy tv b-movie.
The disasters faced
Black matter, lava, volcanoes, earthquakes, sinkholes and a mega-tsunami take the main headlines here. However, you can add falling concrete, ladders of peril and a discount Wonder Woman to your list too.
Geo Disaster kicks off the science in the opening scenes as a mass of black matter flies through the Earth – popping in one side and out the other. Leaving a gaping hole, the world decides to destabilise itself, filling the void with molten lava and causing various other issues along with it.
This is bad news for our family of five. Dad and son are on a bonding camping trip and they have to find themselves a path back into the city to rescue our sisters (‘the girls’) who are busy trying to be as wet as possible. Thankfully, their new step mum spends the entire 83 minutes of the film unpacking new skill after new skill to keep everyone alive. Along the way, the family decide to come together in the face of adversity and they pick up some new friends along the way. In a refreshing take on things, the majority of the cast are helpful and want to work together to survive rather than go nuts. Whilst wearing a name to trade off of Geostorm, the story follows 2012 and Deep Impact more closely as surviving an earthquake and then reaching higher ground to survive the tsunami are the main story points.
Geo Disaster keeps the focus mainly on the family. To give explanations and tee up the next disaster, we have three of the most pointless scientists in a dark room I’ve seen committed to film for a long time. Left to shout at a screen and then make semi-comedic remarks about the end of the world, their entire input feels like an exercise in padding – as demonstrated with their final scene when one scientist asks the others ‘so what have we learnt?’ and the reply comes ‘it was bad!’ Hmm – thanks for that!
Why is it worth watching?
There are some really weird things with Geo Disaster that I spotted second time around that made me perversely enjoy the movie more.
Firstly, at a tight 83 minutes, the film keeps a relatively speedy pace but also has an obscene amount of location padding shots. So many times flyovers of cityscapes or a static shot of the hanging laboratory with dramatic music are used. There must be a good 3 minutes of it in total outside of the credits. What makes it funny is that we’ve just seen the world crumbling apart but then see a pristine city or suburb as we fly over it. The music score is hugely overblown for some low budget smoke effects – its all quite entertaining!
Secondly, whilst the musical score is decent the audio looping of the actors’ voices are not. Rodney’s entire first few scenes are clearly filmed with different equipment as the sound quality for all his shots sound echoed. Later on, different actors in the same rubble scenes have different sounding room reverb to each other depending on the shot used. It’s clear there’s been either some re-recording or some really strange setups going on but this is basic poorness even for an Asylum film.
Onto better points, the third point is that there are some truly hilarious moments. There is an action scene as a tent slides down a hill for about a minute as the son gets trapped in a sleeping bag. There’s also the token ‘everyone get your guns’ moment too where one man with a gun makes an entire group of people with guns surrender. On the flipside though, the spirit of helping each other and taking everyone with you where possible is one that is welcome and quite rare in movies these days. Sadly this then translates into a film where the family in question act at the end like the end of the world was probably the best thing that ever happened to them and that always makes me feel a bit suspect!
Geo Disaster uses a lot of stock footage from previous but recent disasters when it can’t use stills with smoke or sparks added onto it. There are a lot of reused shots of lava, locations and craters which are not the films best effects and make them older faster. The tsunami shots are rip-offs from Deep Impact and 2012 but done poorly although they are a general improvement over most Asylum films. The problem is that you can see how they are painted on and lack the depth or palette of the world around them.
No one in Geo-Disaster is an utter moose, although eldest daughter Kaley comes close. She is busy bitching her way through the entire thing when she needs a good slap and a dose of growing up. Cassie, the youngest is just there to cry whilst Rick is underutilised once the initial bust-up with his dad is resolved. Johanna deserves all the accolades by being a basic ninja then entire way through with the most unconvincing blood on her leg. Sadly then she just ends up snogging Matt and becoming dependant on him when they all get back together which made me feel a bit confused. She is clearly capable and should be able to stand on her own two feet when a man is around too. I’ll leave it to Roberto Gianelli to be my favourite character. The old man with a walking claw who is able to run, clumb and lock pick when the plot allows but then return back to a doddery old man again when the script needs him to. Nicely done.
‘It’s the end of the world and you’re marketing?!’ Kaley
Three memorable moments
- Lesbian neighbour story arc from nowhere is sweet
- Matt choosing to save our rifle loving friends and sending out a great message to humanity
- That sinkhole moment with the cast of extras on the street corner
The obligatory weird moment
Whilst none of the science makes sense, the scientists Noah and Rajesh make even less sense as they play identity politics banter whilst the world falls apart. I’ve never seen two less capable scientists trying to explain what is happening during the film. However, my favourite weird moment is at the end of the tsunami segment. Johanna, Kaley and Cassie ride their motorbikes up to a hill, stop, get off and then run up said hill instead of just driving up it as they could and should clearly be doing! I rolled my eyes so hard.
The drinking game
Is that a scenic establishing shot? DRINK!
Whilst there are some questionable dips in audio production and poor attempts of padding, Geo Disaster is at least entertaining in its camp silliness when its in full flow. Not one of The Asylum’s finest – but by no means one of its worst either.
Rating: 2/5 – Poor
If you liked Geo Disaster then you may like…
- 2012 – So many shots are taken from this film but with less budget
- Geostorm – the film it was timed to release straight after (not much better either!)
- Deep Impact – One of the best asteroid impact films
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