'Greenland' Review: Gerard Butler's disaster drama is all about mankind deserving a second chance
There's enough in the film that packs quite a punch as Waugh manages to show how dangerous and gripping earth-shattering real-life dangers can be, making it all the more enjoyable
Spoilers for 'Greenland'
It's been that sort of a year. Let's pause for a minute to look back at everything the world has been through in 2020—quarantines, the rapid spread of a pandemic that's still ravaging the earth, climate change, political landscape changes and almost every step has been a challenge. And amid all this, the last thing the world needed is a disaster movie called 'Greenland', considering we're plowing through one at the moment. Somehow, midway into the film, the feeling of unity and humanity kicks in.
'Greenland' is like the world purging itself of all that's happened and that means a second chance. And for Gerard Butler's John Garrity, dodging an earth-shattering comet with his estranged wife, Allison (Morena Baccarin) and Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd), it is just the perfect chance to renew himself and fix up a broken life. The premise in itself is quite flimsy, but what 'Greenland' does is ask you to look beyond the technical.
It's almost as if director Ric Roman Waugh wanted to give audiences a moral science lesson on mankind needing to be stronger. And he deviates from the 'Independence Day' route.
This isn't about an alien attack. This isn't about worlds fighting against each other. It's all about Clarke, the comet hurtling towards the earth capable of changing the seismic landscape with an act of god magnitude. And Butler along with Waugh manages to bring in the verisimilitude to make this flick a lot more impactful.
With a runtime of just over 120 minutes, 'Greenland' is crisp and attempts to capture the feelings and the mindset of the panicking people when they are exposed to an imminent cataclysmic event. It's each man for himself in some cases, which the film follows, but also provides the larger picture and the message that there is still humanity left in the world. It is a pity the film didn't hit the cinemas and like most other blockbuster projects, decided to take the VoD route.
What sets 'Greenland' apart is the gritty and actual representation of events in comparison to most disaster flicks. Moving on to the more wafer-thin plot, John has a strained relationship with Allison and the only factor making them cross paths and not severe ties fully is their diabetic son, Nathan. The film starts off by showing John as a construction manager heading off to meet his wife and son for the kid's birthday party. And all the while, news of an impending comet's arrival does the rounds everywhere.
It doesn't take long for Clarke to establish that it can be visually spectacular but also terrifying at the same time. The comet is the perfect party-pooper as John, for his skillset gets a special transmission that he would be one of the lucky people to be saved in emergency situations. This leads to a heart-breaking goodbye. John's life is thrown into jeopardy in an instant as the comet's fragments crashing to earth send shockwaves across the world.
The storyline gets predictable as John, Allison, and Nathan all get separated and a major portion of the film is all about their reunion before they finally reach the last leg of their destination—Greenland, where the powers that be decide to construct shelters that could withstand calamities. But in that two-hour journey, Waugh makes every effort to show how the world would react by paying attention to issues like social breakdown, looting, and even celebrating the end of the world, for that matter.
Butler is no stranger to disaster films and he is a bonafide action hero who's made a name for himself by headlining films that boast of similar scenarios. He reunites with Waugh again after dishing out a solid action blockbuster in 'Angel Has Fallen' in 2019. Baccarin does a stellar job of playing her part to perfection, while Scott Glenn, with probably 20-minute screentime as Dale, Allison's father. That storyline will probably is the only plotline where the busy pacing of the film takes a break and slows down.
There's enough in the film that packs quite a punch as Waugh manages to show how dangerous and gripping earth-shattering real-life dangers can be, making it all the more enjoyable. 'Greenland' deserves a watch and is perhaps a good film to close out the year.
'Greenland' releases December 18 on VoD.