Sunday, September 19, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd, Scott Glenn, Hope Davis, David Denman, James Logan, Holt McCallany, Okea Eme-Akwari
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Ric Roman Waugh had a lengthy career in stunts, before becoming a director. "Greenland" is his second collaboration with Gerard Butler, after "Angel Has Fallen". This time around the film focuses on the story of John Garrity, a structural engineer, who alongside his family find themselves in a race against time. There's a series of fragments from a comet who are about to hit the planet and destroy most of it as a consequence. John receives a notification on his phone, that he alongside his family are meant to go a specific location in order to shelter. As the world unravels, and the process to reach their destination becomes more difficult, they have to contend with the fact that their son, due to the fact that he is a diabetic, can not board the plane destined to take them to safety. While John gets separated from his wife and son, they eventually reunite, and eventually meet at her father's farm. They realize the only way they can get to safety is by trying to reach Greenland, the safe haven where there are bunkers prepared to deal with emergency situations such as these. 
After Dean Devlin's "Geostorm", this is Gerard Butler's second epic disaster type of film he has tackled in the last 5 years (he's also a producer on this one). This film tries to create a distinct narrative from what Roland Emmerich usually does with his blockbuster and disaster films, by placing a fractured family as the center of the action taking place. However and unlike Emmerich's films, there's a lack of any type of humor. Roland Emmerich's epics are somewhat shallow since he essentially populates his films with archetypes and characters that have little to no substance, such as the characters of "2012". However he never takes his films very seriously, though he does pepper the over the top entertainment value of his films with some of his takes on environmental and social issues (which can also be found on "The Day After Tomorrow"). Ric Roman Waugh however, tries to give this film a somewhat authentic and documentary style grit, particular with the set piece where the family tries to board the place in almost real time, much like the show "24", but the story itself ends up lacking credibility to sustain this style itself. Screenwriters have somewhat equated that characters become dimensional because they're flawed or have a shady past: in this case John had an extra marital affair, but is looking for redemption. A painful episode or a quirk doesn't make a character memorable or profound: having an arc, a motivation, a context allows for the audience to understand and create empathy with what's happening onscreen, and eventually be invested in what is happening with this same character. This film fails to give these characters much depth, or credibility for that matter, wrapping everything fairly quickly as the family goes from the US to Greenland in apparently a snap of a finger. The cast is completely lost, and it's quite surprising to find the wonderful Hope Davis, Scott Glenn and David Denman trying to bring some emotion and heart to the film, but for the most part this is a hollow endeavor. Forgettable.