At the molecular level Ric Roman Waugh‘S “Greenland“Is a global disaster picture like any other disaster picture: There is a disaster (natch) that strikes the world (of course), and the focus of the picture is on the shoulders of an ordinary man with family problems who doesn’t just pull the maximum ass save his family from the said disaster, but also reconcile the said problems. The equality “Greenland” associates with films of a similar nature is, however, a matter of nature and surprising quality is a clear matter of care. Waugh damn cares about his material, which was sourced by the scriptwriter Chris Sparlingand his cast, and in hindsight he may also be interested in the context.
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Movies like “Greenland” can’t choose their moments, but they can choose how they react to their moments. STX Not choose a Gerard Butler Vehicle during a pandemic. Instead the studio did Make the right and admirable choice to postpone the release to December and forego the multiplex for VoD, where you can sit in the comfort of your home and watch the Waugh disaster story while your children slumber in their beds. Fair warning parents – you’ll want to hug your kids as soon as Greenland credits run out. Waugh is actually not interested in the disaster at all, but in the way people react to the impending effects of the disaster, which sounds clichéd until the viewer pauses to see the different reactions Americans have to the aforementioned pandemic. A greater proportion of the people responded with compassion and care. A smaller, but not insignificant, section has responded at best with selfishness and a batshit conspiracy.
In “Greenland” the former has priority. John Garrity (butler, Scottish), a civil engineer who lives and works in Atlanta, receives a push notification on his cell phone when a colossal interstellar comet named Clarke is amusingly heading for orbit: the text informs him and his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) and her diabetic boy Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd), were selected by the government for the Post-Apocalypse Recovery and are required to report to Robins Air Force Base for extraction on the Double-Quick. The order is awkward for John; He’s at a comet watch party at his house with Allison, Nathan, and their neighbors, and no one else gets the same lines. When Clarke lands far from his expected harmless destination (the ocean) and destroys Tampa instead, John pushes Allison and Nathan in the car and out onto the road for adventure, but not before making tough decisions.
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Everyone wants to be saved. We all want a vaccine, for example, whether we’re social distancing ourselves or throwing house parties with our asshole friends and asshole families. John’s neighbors also want to be saved, including a woman who tries to hand over her baby daughter to the Garrity Family only to be rejected. Waugh lingers as they drive off, mother, father and child crying in each other’s arms, knowing full well that they have time to borrow before they turn to ashes. It is a terrible moment, one of many, as “Greenland” takes its lead throughout Georgia and through heavenly and human dangers. In all fairness, the film mainly works as a benchmark on how awful we are to each other when our own survival is at stake. Comet fragments bombarding the surface are almost a window decoration instead of the main obstacle. Compared to nationalism and old stinginess, they are almost preferable.
They’re more realistic too, but who cares? It is true that nations of the world have more than a few aces up their sleeves to deal with planet killers, and the chances that we will see a scenario like Waugh’s here are slim. It is also true that, likely or not, the sensations evoked by John and Allison’s madcap race to get to Greenland, the place everyone goes to safe haven, are real: Severe fear faced with an unprecedented threat to its survival and shock at the sheer inadequacy and inability to plan the government’s endangered events. No one can fully explain this level of devastation, but they can certainly do better than creating panic that leads to chaos that leads to senseless waste of life. As a result, Butler and Baccarin play confused as each goes through their own exams and performs the act of “common man” necessary for the film to work along the way.
Waugh’s decision to prioritize human drama over outrageous explosion porn at times parallels the line of self-serious miserableism. Even movies about the end of mankind have a limit to how boring things can get without raising eyebrows in disbelief. A skilled craftsman and not a fighter, John gets into a desperate, sloppy exchange of blows with two American premier guys who works thanks to the gracefulness of their punches and then stops working when he accidentally buries the claw end of a hammer in one of the men’s skulls. It’s stylized and framed for maximum shock value and the feat plays against the mood Waugh means to stir. On the other side, the juicier middle section where Allison and John reunite at their father Dale (Scott Glenn) place works almost in spite of everything, because that’s exactly what makes good chemistry with ham.
“Hello Dad,” Allison creates through happy tears. “Hey sunflower,” Dale says back. It’s such a natural exchange between Baccarin and Glenn that the choral soundtrack fades, and it can also help that so many of us watching would give so much just to hug our own parents that sentimentality is more of a trait than is a mistake. Look: there is no reason to ignore the family tree of “Greenland”. Disaster films are seldom great cinema. They’re rarely even good junk food. But this is here straight well enough, and so close to how we’ve lived most of 2020, that it’s unconvincing to appreciate the way Waugh puts the spectacle under Sparling’s somber view of humanity. “Greenland” is not a self-determined film and it is probably not the film that we “need” right now. But it’s the movie we have, and its honest but unintended genre response makes it easy to adopt. [C+]
“Greenland” arrives on December 18th on VOD.