Beware, comets of Greenland: Gerard Butler is here to protect Earth — and show audiences an improbably entertaining time.
Gerard Butler stars as John Garrity in Amazon Prime’s release “Greenland”. Morena Baccarin stars as his estranged wife (Allison) and their young son Nathan, (Roger Dale Floyd), all seek safety as they travel to sanctuary while planet-killing comets shoot toward Earth. In the midst of terrifying accounts of destroyed cities, the Garrity’s live through polar opposite experiences of the best and worst in humanity. A revealing countdown to a global-wide apocalypse that is tumbling toward zero, the family’s horrendous trek resolves into a gripping final-moment flight to a possible safe haven. The family struggles to survive amongst a ruinous natural disaster.
I’m not sure what to call the category, but Butler seems to be a grounding force in this action adventure. Butler has the ability to commit completely into the premise adventure, and no matter how farfetched it is, Butler wholeheartedly invests himself into the fiction. The characters he portrays do not question the insane circumstances of which they are revealed. Butler’s recent career of late (last six or seven years) has been compared to Harrison Ford in Air Force One: “The serious, somber man in the midst of chaos.”
In other words, “Butler doesn’t try to out-crazy anyone; Butler’s job is to convince us to ignore the absurdity of a geostorm and just go with it. He attacks every role — no matter how absurd — with the same deadly seriousness that Mark Wahlberg employs in every blue-collar everyman he’s ever played. It’s not to say that Butler isn’t in on the joke; it’s Butler’s role, in fact, to sell the setup, otherwise the punchline falls flat.”
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Greenland is the disaster pic, that comes from Butler’s film, “Angel Has Fallen,” directed by Ric Roman Waugh. And this particular is actually good, and not just in the Gerard Butler sense of action adventures, although that, too. Butler is estranged from Allison, because he cheated on her. The premise is explained through Rotten Tomatoes: “Though separated from his wife, John — a structural engineer — returns home to host a party with neighbors. During the course of the party, he receives an alert notifying him that he and his family have been selected for emergency sheltering. The comet that everyone thought was going to safely crash into the ocean, it turns out, is actually expected to lead to an extinction-level event that will wipe out 75 percent of the population.”
It is only minutes after a comet fragment vaporizes part of Florida, Garrity grabs his family, and heads to a designated pick-up location also known as a military base. This is where he and his family are supposed to be flown to a shelter in Greenland, thus the name of the film. This is where Garrity’s professional skills are designated as useful in rebuilding the planet, allowing he and his family to reside in a military bunker, designated as protective custody.
John (Garrity) and his wife, Allison reach the military base without any real hitches.
However, they soon discover that they’re being rejected because their son has type one diabetes, and people with medical conditions are not allowed to propagate the species. John, Allison, and Nathan are subsequently separated, and the lion’s share of the movie is about John’s efforts to reunite with his family and figure out how to get to the Greenland bunker before the comet wipes out most of humanity.
“There’s absolutely nothing original about Greenland — it’s a conventional but solid disaster pic — but the budget ($35 million, a relatively small amount for this kind of movie) forces Ric Roman Waugh to keep the focus on the characters rather than the spectacle of comet fragments lighting up the planet.” There is a lot of time spent in the car with various configurations of characters (David Denman and Hope Davis also figure in as a couple trying to secure a place in the emergency shelters), so there’s more conversation than might be typical of this kind of film, where most of the dialogue is limited to, “Whoa!” and “Damn!” and “Ahhhh!” when things go kablooey.
Butler does what he does extremely well, though, and that’s what makes Greenland so successful: He keeps his wits about him and tackles each problem with level-headed confidence. Baccarin is a solid partner here, too, because — despite their estrangement — their priorities are similar, and they both remain focused on their kid. It’s a good dynamic and their relationship is credible even amid the chaos of the impending end of the world.
It is a disaster pic, but it often feels more like a family drama, and that is to the credit of Greenland.
This is a fan driven adventure ride for the disastrous revel type of fan base. It is, the quintessential movie centered around a man, John Garrity, (Gerard Butler) and his family doing their very best to outrun a plummeting comet from space to Earth, and at the end of the day, that’s what we’re all wanting to see.
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