REVIEW: Greenland (2020)

Greenland Still Image
‘Greenland,’ Still Image — Photo: Daniel McFadden / STXfilms.

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh — Screenplay by Chris Sparling.

Ric Roman Waugh’s Greenland follows John Garrity (played by Gerard Butler), a structural engineer, who is getting ready to attend a party at his wife Allison’s house where they, along with friends and their diabetic son Nathan (played by Roger Dale Floyd), plan to watch an interstellar comet pass by Earth together. However, Allison (played by Morena Baccarin) and the rest of the Garrity family are soon surprised by a sudden presidential alert that notifies them that their family has been selected for evacuation and emergency sheltering due to the fact that experts now apparently expect the comet to impact Earth and cause a cataclysmic event. Soon the Garrity family must travel great distances to reach a safe haven, while those not selected for emergency sheltering protest and riot.

To be perfectly honest with you, I initially didn’t expect a lot from this movie. While I like Gerard Butler, I don’t usually tend to enjoy the films that he appears in (there are exceptions, of course, such as 300, the How to Train Your Dragon-films, and Law Abiding Citizen), and I didn’t really feel like watching a new disaster film in a year as tumultuous as 2020. But when I heard from people whose opinions I trust that the film was actually a nice surprise, and when I realized that the film was directed by Ric Roman Waugh (the director of the Nikolaj Coster-Waldau starring vehicle Shot Caller, which I liked a lot), I became intrigued by the film.

While it is definitely not the most memorable film, I definitely agree with those people who have claimed that this is a nice surprise. I had a great time with the film. This is a really entertaining disaster film, with enough dangerous twists and turns for the film’s central family to keep you invested. The effects are solid, Butler and Baccarin deliver credible performances, and it kept me interested from beginning to end.

Now, I do have some issues. For starters, I think that the title of the film is a bit of a mistake. Once you realize why it’s called Greenland, you pretty much know how the movie is going to end. On a more general level, I also think that it’s difficult to really market a disaster film titled ‘Greenland’ when all of the trailers basically only showcase North America.

Other than the title, my biggest problem with Greenland is the overall predictability of the film. Often editing choices — music notes, timed cuts, etc. — telegraph exactly what is going to happen next. Furthermore, I think it is also true that some of the plot developments — like sudden and unexpected drama — feel unearned, forced, or extremely and dubiously convenient.

If you’re overwhelmed by questionable government actions and mass hysteria this year, then Greenland definitely isn’t a good film for you right now, and there definitely is an argument to be made that this film would’ve been better off if it had been released in a more regular year. However, a lot of people really enjoy these disaster films, and a lot of people have a lot of fun with Gerard Butler vehicles such as this one, so if you are looking for a film that matches that description, then this is definitely a film that I would recommend. Because Ric Roman Waugh’s Greenland is a gripping above-average disaster film that I enjoyed much more than I thought I would.

6.5 out of 10

– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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