isA year when many of us are obsessed with anti-escape films about the disasters that engulf the world while also being presented with a more junkier than usual lineup of budding blockbusters (both the obvious result of the dreaded C word), there’s something fitting about us closing the year with Greenland, a chaotic comet thriller showcasing the apocalypse on a chipped set, the discounted combo that 2020 deserves.
Originally he was to play Chris Evans with District 9’s Neill Blomkamp at the helm, instead Ric Roman Waugh reunites with his Fallen Angel star Gerard Butler, a low-powered prospect made worse by the theatrical release of the film in June which traded for an on-demand launch before Christmas. Butler, who was last faced with natural disasters in 2017’s terrible Geostorm, plays John, a structural engineer who tries to fix things with his ex-wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) and son Nathan. But in a pleasantly fast and frenetic way, their lives are turned upside down by an incoming comet, a comet that was originally slated to bypass Earth, but is now poised to cause massive destruction. John receives a call to tell him that he has been shortlisted with his family for shelter, which puts them on the road to safety, although it is far from easy …
Working on a much smaller budget than a film of its ilk (just $ 35 million versus $ 120 million from Geostorm or even $ 60 million from much less action-centric Contagion), Greenland is sold to the great show but does not contain that many. I’d say it’s about enough that viewers don’t feel cheated (it’s not a reign of fire in that regard), but it’s a movie where the greatest moments are told in a cut-out. fleeting, something that works both for and against. The tight focus on a family’s struggle to stay alive rather than the experts who determine what to do behind the scenes is refreshing (not everyone from Butler can do much to help) and there’s a horribly well orchestrated anxiety in some of the former, surprisingly. believable scenes. The specifics of the selection and how that process would then work during a disaster (starting with the newly adopted Presidential Alert that leads to a QR code) seem pretty compelling and there’s a certain mood watching the characters desperately trying to understand everything. The storyline, by Buried writer Chris Sparling, is also imbued with a rather pessimistic view of humanity, with characters exhibiting terrible behavior that is easily identifiable after the year we’ve all had.
But the lack of identifiable family characteristics (daddy = man, mum = woman, son = diabetic) means we get bored too quickly. The indulgent two-hour duration also means their journey begins to move forward and lose any credibility by the time we reach the absurd finale of the film. The clue to where this is all heading is, uh, in the title and despite the film’s extreme rise in global chaos, it all grows into a disastrous classic ‘have your cake and eat it’ movie ending. .
It’s a decent watch, involving enough afternoon watch (slight praise: better than Geostorm) and for those with some destructive itch that still needs a scratching, this should do the trick.