Greenland sees Gerald Butler and Morena Baccarin face impossible odds to survive a life ending doomsday scenario
In Greenland, the world faces an existential threat from an event we were neither expecting nor prepared for. No, I’m not referring to the Covid 19 pandemic or global warming. The threat the world faces is from a comet heading towards the earth’s atmosphere. The potential effects of the comet are initially either underestimated or purposely downplayed by the media and government to prevent the inevitable mass panic which would follow.
Greenland is written by Chris Sparling and directed by Rick Roman Waugh. It stars Gerald Butler as John Garrity and Morena Baccarin as Allison. They are an estranged couple doing their best to co parent their 7yr old diabetic son Nathan played by Roger Dale Floyd. The film does a decent job of presenting a broken family making the best of their situation. There is no obvious hate or over dramatic arguments but there is clearly a tension in the air with things being held together for the sake of Nathan. It’s within this backdrop that the family are faced with this event.
It feels like Disaster movies were more commonplace and prominent in previous decades. The Earth faced down extinction through impossible odds in films like Independence Day, 2012 and Armageddon. Greenland follows in the tradition of such films. Director Rick Roman Waugh did extensive research with Nasa to determine what the actual impact and effects would be if a comet did enter the earth’s atmosphere and the results of that research show up on screen. The news of the oncoming comets gradually go from a popular media news event to a public safety warning and the tension builds as the tragic grim reality they face is revealed.
Halfway through this movie review, it became apparent that Morgan Freeman wasn’t going to take the podium as president and offer us not only hope but also a plan to survive. Everyone was on their own and while it’s expected, it never fails to shock and sadden how quickly ‘decent’ society descends into chaos and crime when faced with odds that appear overwhelming
This is a personal story of one family’s battle during a global disaster. They are selected as one of the few to be flown to a shelter which might provide the only chance of survival. Their journey there involves making some difficult choices as well as dealing with some of the best and worst of humanity. The director considers an ambiguous ending for the film (which I would have preferred) but opted for clarity in its resolution. This was an enjoyable movie which paid homage to disaster movies of old while carving its own path by keeping the focus on one family’s journey.
Greenland aims to entertain first over terrifying us. The characters are enjoyable to watch but at times we may be more invested in the outcome once the comets hit as opposed to the family’s survival! The comet takes the place of the faceless monster in a horror movie and in that manner, it makes a decent antagonist. Even when not seen, its presence is felt in every scene and conversation, it’s always coming, and the inevitability of its arrival adds to the feeling of pending doom.
There is no fighting against this ‘monster’, no getting away from it. Unlike other similar disaster movies, there is no hope or last-minute plan to save everyone. There is simply and acceptance of the worlds fate and once that is accepted, it simply becomes an escape movie with survival the only goal.