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Greenland


There’s a big comet coming to hit the earth, a “planet killer” that we only have a few days to get ready for. Wait, haven’t I seen this movie before? I think I saw it twice in 1998 with “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon” battling it out to scorch the box office. So why should I bother with the new Gerard Butler version, GREENLAND?

Well, first of all there’s Gerard Butler, who seems to be getting better every year as he settles into action thrillers like 2018’s “Den of Thieves”, which was one of the most underrated action movies of the last decade. Butler has that strange mix of vulnerable and lethal that Daniel Craig’s OO7 also carries.

This time he’s architect John Garrity, returning home from a brief separation from his wife Allison (Morena Baccarin of “Deadpool”) and their son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd from “Doctor Sleep”). Their personal struggles are quickly dwarfed when John gets a text that he’s been chosen by the president to be immediately evacuated with his family before the comet hits.

What the film gets right is it’s almost claustrophobic immersion in the trio’s quest to get to the evacuation site and everything that goes absolutely wrong as society crumbles around them.

At the end of 2020, it feels all too accurate in light of the past year’s worldwide problems. Several times, we turned to each other and said “that feels about right” on how fast social mores would collapse in these times.

If that all sounds heavy, be assured that the film is also loaded with some spectacular action scenes. As often happens in this genre, early “splinters” of the comet are hitting the planet. But the impact of those feels more pressing in GREENLAND, with the first one hitting Florida in a moment that families see on TV live. Like that first TV broadcast glimpse of the Aliens in Brazil in “Signs”, it makes your skin crawl.

Baccarin is stunning and excellent as a mother and wife pushed to the brink and young Floyd is a find as Nathan. The trio of Garrity’s are made of steel.

Scott Glenn makes his first big screen appearance in eight years as Allison’s dad and he’s a welcome add in the third act.

While pieces of the film may feel familiar, I would have been hard pressed to guess where the story was going at times, and that’s a good thing. As a personal level take on a global crisis, GREENLAND finds that perfect middle ground between drama and action thriller where the stakes feel immense. Maybe by feeling it so deeply for one family, it gives the planet size ramifications that much more impact.

As double sonic booms explode through the air in a great Dolby Atmos sound design, you’ll be ready for the shock waves and massive destruction. What you might not be ready for is the family drama that takes place in the center of the madness.

GREENLAND is surprisingly good, earning a B+.


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