Another week of lockdown, another week of closed cinemas, and this means another week of looking to streaming services for a new movie. And this weekend it is the turn of Greenland.
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Greenland is an apocalyptic disaster movie starring Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin. The film tells the story of a family’s fight to survive the devastating impact of a natural disaster, and the journey they go through.
In the movie, a comet is hurtling towards the Earth, and it brings with it the power to trigger mass extinction. In short, the world is screwed, and the chances of humanity surviving is pretty slim.
But the US Government has a plan to rebuild society post-impact, with the help of some specially selected citizens, including structural engineer, John Garrity (Butler). John and his family are told to report to a military base, so they can join a collection of citizens who are being moved to a safe haven.
However, due to a problem with the selection process, things don’t go quite to plan and the Garrity family are left high and dry. What follows is a race against time as they try to find safety, while the comet inches ever nearer to delivering a destructive blow.
Now if all this all sounds a little familiar, and you’re convinced you saw a trailer for this movie some time ago, then chances are you probably did. Greenland is one of the many films that was due to hit cinemas in 2020, but it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 didn’t put a total hold on the film, and some territories were able to play Greenland in cinemas during the summer; but its release was largely impacted. However, from today, for those of us who live in the UK, Greenland is available to stream via Amazon Prime, so if you are looking for something to watch, then this could be it.
The good news is, this is a solid movie. The bad news is, this is a disaster film which arrives on Amazon while we are still going through a world crisis.
Although the subject matter differs quite considerably from what we have been coping with for this past year, there are some parallels between what’s on screen and what is our current reality. The film includes an event which has the ability to radically alter life on the planet, includes scenes of panic (as well as a scene of denial), and offers up a rather worrying future for everyone.
And because of this, Greenland might be a little too much to take for some audiences right now, and if that is you, then it is perfectly understandable. But if you are able to cope with the subject matter, and you want a little bit of drama over the weekend, this is the movie to go for.
When I sat down to watch Greenland earlier today, I will admit I was expecting a cheesy action blockbuster, akin to Independence Day (1996), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), or Skyfire (2019). I was expecting Gerard Butler to be punching comets out of the sky, while various American landmarks are destroyed with careless abandon.
But this is not what I got. Greenland is not wall-to-wall explosions, topped off by patriotic speeches, and shots of the polar ice caps melting. It is instead, a film which strips things back somewhat, sidesteps some of the usual macho heroism associated with this genre, and avoids any scenes of a US President telling everyone that things will be OK.
This is a movie which instead places a great deal of its focus on human relationships, and more specifically, the relationship of the central trio: John, his wife Allison, and their son, Nathan. The film does include loud bangs and crashes, and those who love disaster porn will get a few shots of mayhem, but this is largely a picture which looks at the human cost of a disaster, and how life can change in an instant.
It also offers up some hope for the future. John is a flawed character, and while his main motivation is keeping his family safe, he is also sent on a journey of improvement, so that when the dust settles things might be better for the family as a whole.
But to get to all that, director Ric Roman Waugh puts the Garrity’s through the wringer, and makes them experience the good and the bad that exists in the human race. They encounter some very tricky situations, which add new wrinkles to the drama, and it all keeps the action flowing and the interest level high.
And I don’t believe my interest in this picture ever dropped throughout its two-hour run time. I found myself engaged with everything that was playing out on screen, and that is thanks to the director, as well as Butler and Baccarin, who bring a sense of realness to proceedings.
I also found myself emotionally invested in the story, and I do believe this is because every element of this movie was carefully put together. From the twists and turns, to the characterisation, all of this film felt fully fleshed out, with no unnecessary padding.
Greenland is good movie, and one which really surprised me. It’s not something which can be classed as suitable viewing for the whole family – it is a 15 and pretty sombre – but it is a movie I would recommend to those looking for some evening entertainment.
Despite the continued disruption to the output of movies, and the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of cinemas, there is still plenty of good films out there. Greenland is one of them and you should check it out.