If you watch post 1970s disaster films, you usually are watching the movies of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. Devlin started his career as an actor before getting into writing. His first big script was Universal Soldier, but he’s best known for working with Emmerich on the huge disaster alien film Independence Day — and it’s beyond inferior sequel — as well as Stargate and Godzilla.
Devlin made his debut as a director with this movie, one he also co-wrote with Paul Guyot and co-produced. Let me tell you right from the beginning: it does what so many disaster movies do. It has a ridiculous concept and throws actors at it.
It also tested so badly that executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, writer Laeta Kalogridis and new director Danny Cannon had to come in to reshoot parts of it.
We all know — although many deny it — that we’ve destroyed our climate and in the next 10 years, our planet is going to be much harder to live on. This film has a science McGuffin called the Dutch Boy, a system of climate-controlling satellites, that can do magical thinsg like neutralize typhoons.
Yet because he brought Dutch Boy online without authorization, the U.S. government replaces its creator, Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) with his brother Max (Jim Sturgess), who is the lacky of Secretary of State Leonard Dekkom (Ed Harris).
So yes, we have our disgraced maverick hero.
Now for the big disaster.
The desert is freezing! Hong Kong is on fire! A computer virus is inside Dutch Boy! A geostorm is on the way!
This was inspired by Devlin’s daughter Hannah asking him if a machine could be made to fix the environment. That’s also why Jake’s daughter — and this film’s voice — is also named Hannah.
Thirteen years before, Devlin’s partner Emmerich has already made The Day After Tomorrow, a movie just as dumb as this one. The only difference is that one made money. Emmerich also made The Noah’s Ark Principle back in 1984 which is a very similar story to this.