'Geostorm' Trailer: Take This Seriously, Global Warmers

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This is going to happen to you. Warner Bros.

Geostorm is the directorial debut of Dean Devlin, a screenwriter best known for collaborations with director Roland Emmerich. Together they’re responsible for Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla and Independence Day: Resurgence. Now the trailer for Devlin’s Geoforce reveals a disaster film to challenge Emmerich’s own The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. And it actually looks fun, as world-destroying movies go, with lots of lightning, multiple flavors of tornado and people popsicles.

The addition of a sci-fi plot involving the world’s futuristic weather system, sabotaged as part of an elaborate assassination attempt on the president, already puts this a step in front of Emmerich’s disaster flicks (2012 plot: vague neutrino forces that have to be explained to John Cusack). Perhaps President Andy Garcia will be able to show our president, a global warming denier, just how disastrous climate change could be to our civilization.

“He had to find some means of breaking out of typical expectation to write about atypical moments,” reads an introduction to a collection of essays on Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War novel The Things They Carried. Because words could never capture the visceral lived reality of experience, O’Brien heightened the fictional reality on the page to draw the reader just a little closer to real life. That’s how “a surreal and invented story,” like The Things They Carried, created “one of the most real, convincing and blunt portrayals” of the real-world event it darkly mirrors. Sometimes hyperbole can be more true than dry recitation of fact, like Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi’s famous image comparing Goldman Sachs to a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

So while bus-smashing hail, fire storms and frozen planes falling out of the sky may not be ahead of us, any fictional climate disaster that stirs our guts is closer to the real-world disaster barrelling our way, no matter how furrowed your brow gets reading the latest update on disappearing Arctic ice. Mass mollusc die-off, extinction rates 114x what they should be, smog deaths, doubled “extreme weather events” — just words. But pretend climate change means you’re going to die with Gerard Butler and it all starts feeling pretty damn serious.

“Every time I dig into the facts, read the reports of experts, try to understand the problem for myself, I become terrified. And yet I still don’t believe in climate change. I know don’t believe in it, because if I believed in it, I would be acting differently,” Nathan Robinson writes in a Current Affairs article on the policy consequences of our collective failure of imagination. “If I truly believed that Florida was going to sink into the sea, and that urgent action needed to be taken in order to stop this from occurring, I wouldn’t be editing a magazine. And I certainly wouldn’t have spent any of the past six months reading books or watching YouTube videos. If I believed climate change mattered as much as I am supposed to think it matters, I would be spending my every waking effort calling urgently for political action. I am not doing this.”

Me neither. But someone better start doing it. Or you could see Geostorm, in theaters Oct. 20.

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