First thing you should know Greenland is that there isn’t much Greenland Greenland. The second thing you should know is this Greenland is a blast, a fast-paced and surprisingly grounded thriller that has served as the best disaster film since then The wave.
Gerard Butler is often dismissed – by me, too – as a second-rate action star, but if you look back on the last decade of his career, he has released a relatively consistent stream of entertaining action films, many of which have been global hits (looking at the Like Franchise). While his fake American accent may not be considered the most reliable, Butler knows his niche and plays with his strengths.
And Greenland is probably his best in a long time.
I went into this film blindly and knew nothing about the plot of the film other than that it was about Butler and was probably some kind of action film. I was delighted to learn early on that it was a deadly comet devastating the planet and much of humanity. Except for the above The wave and its continuation The quakethe disaster genre hasn’t offered much in recent years, and certainly not on the order of Greenland. Unless you include, of course Geostorm, one of Gerard’s not so good (okay, that’s it baaad) Movies.
Speaking of standards, what makes Greenland It is so effective that director Ric Roman (Angel fell) continues to focus on Gerard and his family on screen (Morena Baccarin and Roger Dale Floyd). That’s not to say there are no explosions and massive deaths, but Roman seems content to show the disaster for the most part through this trio’s eyes, a smart move that allows us to get to know them, understand their dynamics, and them to put on a non-stop course for survival. When you are disconnected, you can instantly relate to your desperation to reconnect. When the boy (Floyd) is torn from his mother’s arms, you can feel her grief. And when things feel the worst, you hope they find a way.
The disaster genre rarely deals with reality. Roland Emmerich, who made some of the most popular and memorable disaster films of the last few decades, was probably the least unusual with the Alien Invasion film independence Day. By the time 2012 rolled around were given zero f ** ks.
Impressive and not dissimilar The wave, Greenland works because it feels grounded. That’s not to say it’s not that far-fetched in some ways, but Roman really avoids any big eye-roll moments. Furthermore, the movie’s portrayal of what life would be like in the last few days before a worldwide catastrophic event seems downright believable, from the government’s decision to hide the truth to the military operation to save some lucky people. Setting an action thriller in such a situation therefore works effectively.
It should also be noted, and I steal the words of another reviewer, that fortunately Roman does not “annoy” the child. So many films with kids wanted to give this kid a full berth and often turn them into brave heroes in the end. In this movie, Floyd does a great job of simply playing a scared boy who is there.
Greenland reminds me a lot of the 1998s Deep Impact, a favorite of mine who also took a measured approach to what the end of days might look like. Greenland is a more action packed version, and while not perfect, it’s an all-time fun, exciting, and fully-realized disaster movie that I will surely revisit in years to come.
It just took more Greenland to live up to its title.
Rating by Erik Samdahl, unless otherwise stated.