In a 12 months when many people obsessed over anti-escapist movies about disasters engulfing the world whereas additionally being introduced with a junkier than common lineup of wannabe blockbusters (each the apparent results of the dreaded C-word), there’s one thing becoming about us closing the 12 months out with Greenland, a chaotic comet thriller presenting the apocalypse up on a chipped platter, the cut-rate combo that 2020 deserves.
Initially set to star Chris Evans with District 9’s Neill Blomkamp on the helm, as an alternative we’ve got Ric Roman Waugh reuniting along with his Angel Has Fallen star Gerard Butler, a lower-wattage prospect compounded by the movie’s prime theatrical launch in June swapping out for an on-demand launch earlier than Christmas. Butler, who final confronted pure disasters in 2017’s dreadful Geostorm, performs John, a structural engineer attempting to patch issues up along with his estranged spouse Allison (Morena Baccarin) and son Nathan. However in pleasingly fast and frantic vogue, their lives are upturned by an incoming comet, one which was initially predicted to bypass Earth however is now set to trigger mass destruction. John will get a name to inform him he’s been pre-selected alongside along with his household for shelter which units them on a path to security though it’s one which’s removed from easy …
Working with a price range far decrease than that for a movie of its ilk (simply $35m in comparison with Geostorm’s $120m and even the far much less action-centric Contagion’s $60m), Greenland is bought on grand spectacle but comprises not that a lot of it. I’d argue that it’s nearly sufficient for viewers to not really feel short-changed (it’s no Reign of Hearth in that regard) however it’s a movie the place the most important moments are informed in fleeting montage, one thing that works each for and in opposition to it. The tight give attention to a household’s battle to remain alive slightly than the specialists determining what to do behind the scenes is refreshing (Butler’s everyman can solely accomplish that a lot to assist) and there’s a horribly well-orchestrated anxiousness to among the earlier, surprisingly plausible scenes. The specifics of choice and the way this course of would then function throughout a catastrophe (beginning with the newly adopted presidential alert which ends up in a QR code) feels nearly convincing sufficient and there’s a clamminess to watching the characters desperately attempt to determine all of it out. The script, from Buried author Chris Sparling, can also be infused with a slightly pessimistic view of humanity, characters showcasing horrible behaviour that’s simply identifiable after the 12 months we’ve got all had.
However the household’s lack of identifiable traits (dad = man, mum = lady, son = diabetic) means we get drained of all of them too quick. The indulgent two-hour runtime additionally signifies that their journey begins to plod in addition to lose even the slightest quantity of credibility by the point we attain the movie’s absurd finale. The clue to the place it’s all headed is, er, within the title and regardless of the movie’s enjoyably excessive ramping up of worldwide mayhem, all of it crescendoes in a basic “have your cake and eat it” catastrophe film ending.
It’s an sufficient, involving sufficient afternoon watch (faint reward: higher than Geostorm) and for these with a sure damaging itch that also wants scratching, this could do the job.