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Generally speaking the genre of film known as the "disaster movie" is not particularly well regarded among the more "serious" film viewer. While there are certainly exceptions, disaster movies currency is usually spectacle, and as such there's little attention given to minor details like "character" or "plot." Just fill the screen with things blowing up are cities being flooded and viewers will get what they expected, and, at least in theory, be happy with that. So there probably wasn't a great deal of high expectation in Greenland, and yet the movie is, maybe, pretty good? Or, at the very least, it's not that bad.
Greenland stars Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin as a family trying to find safety when a comet fragment is on a collision course with earth, and while that may seem wild, and it is, at the core of Greenland is a character driven story that far more relatable and believable. I gave the movie 2.5 stars in my official review, because, while there is a great deal of dumb stuff in Greenland, there's still something of value as well. From my review...
The tension is strong. In some places it’s absolutely heartbreaking. When the movie forgets the comets and gets to be about the people, the good and the bad, it becomes much more relatable.
While comets raining down on the earth is the cause of the catastrophe, it's not really what the movie is about. Greenland sets up Gerard Butler as a man who, through a combination of luck and his choice of profession, has been chosen to survive the catastrophe and he and his family have been given space in a secret underground bunker. Unfortunately, because, the world is otherwise coming to an end, getting to safety is far from easy and the family must navigate humanity at its worst and survive other people before they can even have a chance to survive the comets.
And it seems that I'm not the only one that found something of value in Greenland. The film currently has a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and while nobody's review finds Greenland to be without fault, most certainly find it to be something of value. The Los Angeles Times found much about Greenland to be a little too real in many ways.
Not just plausible but recognizable. There's very little otherworldly about this cinematic apocalypse. These are the people, places and, yes, behaviors we know all too well.
Of course, if what you're actually looking for in your disaster movie is, you know, a disaster, Greenland has that too. In fact, some critics are of the opinion that those are the elements worth watching Greenland to see. The San Jose Mercury News, actually finds the more sentimental aspects of the script over done, but enjoys the "roller coaster" of the more escapist elements, saying...
But then this adrenaline dash about a comet poised to knock Earth off its axis blubbers into gooey, overdone sentimentality. With just a few editing nips and tucks, this could have been so much better. But it’s still a decent bit mindless escapism that invites you to laugh at it while enjoying a roller coaster ride.
Of course, while the majority of critics find something of value in Greenland, even if they can't all agree on what that is, there are also those that find not enough of value in the film. Variety seems to appreciate what Greenland is trying to do, but just doesn't feel like it does it well enough..
A thriller isn’t supposed to be a cakewalk; if it were, it wouldn’t thrill. But the twists, complications, and bumps in the road have to engage the audience.
Greenland is another victim of the global pandemic. Planned for a theatrical release, the movie is made available via VOD platforms today. If you're playing the odds, it seems likely that you'll find something in the film that makes watching it worth while, even if it's somewhat unlikely you're going to totally love all of it.