What would you do when faced with a disaster that threatened the entirety of the human race and that civilization as we knew it, was doomed? It’s a question that has been asked countless times in the realm of the disaster movie genre and at times we have gotten our answer. Greenland is the newest movie that feels similar to Deep Impact but is more reserved in its storytelling to provide us with an emotionally charged film that settles for a good script and allows the special effects to enhance the experience without taking center stage. In short, I was surprised at the restraint from director Ric Roman Waugh (Angel Has Fallen) and his ability to tell a story that felt real, plausible and moving once the film concluded.
The movie begins with the knowledge that the world is made aware of an interstellar comet named “Clarke”. It’s such a sight to witness and just hearing the news of this arriving outsider brings people together to watch the news as everything unfolds. As the comet nears closer to the Earth, something unexpected happens. Disaster strikes where chunks of the comet are falling towards the Earth acting like a pinball machine where any city, town, village; any location on the planet has a big fat target! Cities are destroyed, the casualties are in the hundreds of thousands we presume and the sky appears to be on fire! The comet can be visually spotted during the daytime and is evermore present once its nighttime. This causes mass hysteria and the public begins losing their minds. Everyone is fending for themselves but additionally people are angry because certain people throughout the planet are being contacted by the Government to arrive at military bases in order to be transferred to an off-site facility were the likelihood for survival is far better than being alone to defend oneself.
This is where we follow John (Gerard Butler) attempting, to the best of his ability, to get his family to safety. He was one of the ones who was contacted to arrive at the nearest military base so that he and his wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) along with their son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) are granted access to fly to an undisclosed location, via military assistance, so that they will be able to survive when the extinction level event occurs which will result in nearly eighty percent loss of life on planet Earth!
The family themselves have their own problems which only magnify into greater proportions when they become separated from each other and then it becomes a race to see if they will be able to reunite together and survive the impending doom! Their travels take them many places including one moment (while very brief) is when John arrives at his father-in-laws house and meets with Dale (Scott Glenn). They have a nice conversation but when its time to move, Dale already knows what he will be doing. It’s always a real treat to see Scott Glenn.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…the special effects, of course! Yes, they are great but what’s surprising is the restraint to have all the glory of explosions and disasters play in the background and allow the plot of this one family trying to survive to be the main focal point. Gosh, what a relief. This movie reminding me of Deep Impact, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. Sure, you may not like some of those movies but they all share a common thread. A plot that details whether or not the characters we come to meet with make it through this ordeal that they are faced with. I have to commend the script by Chris Sparling. It’s intelligent, smart-paced and doesn’t feel over-the-top or nonsensical like other movies of this genre.
I can admit that I did have some thoughts racing through my mind regarding the science behind this film. Sure, I can accept the wide range of explosions and disaster moments but the idea that NASA only discovered this comet merely weeks prior to impact is one heck of an old cliché. Anybody recall that goofy Armageddon movie? Regardless, Greenland impressed me beyond expectations and if you’re in the mood for an entertaining disaster flick that isn’t silly or goofy, then add this title to your list to watch!
Score 4.5 out 5
Greenland benefits from a solid cast, restrained and wonderful direction from Ric Roman Waugh and a great screenplay from Chris Sparling. This is a movie that could’ve gone for the cheap thrills and bombarded the screen with endless shots of disaster and CGI explosions but instead opted for a good story and moments that can leave you feeling emotional. It may be easy to take disaster films for granted but considering we are living through a nationwide health emergency, some scenes in this movie can feel somewhat too real with some things we’ve seen occur in 2020. It’s nice to see Butler play a character who isn’t a total badass but as a man who wants what’s best for his family. It’s more entertaining and exciting than his last disaster film Geostorm, which wasn’t half bad and kept me enthralled more than those Fallen movies of his.
Greenland is smart, fun and entertaining from start to finish. This movie is unlike the typical disaster flicks that tend to drown the audience with mindless CGI moments and instead brings us into a story that we’ll at least remember after viewing it. And if you’re like me, you’ll probably be itching for a second viewing once it’s over. Greenland is an exceptional piece of entertainment that’s worth your money and time. Don’t miss this one when it becomes available via stream starting December 18!