Greenland. Movie Review

At this point, Gerard Butler has carved himself an acceptable niche. He will consistently be starring in male-dominated mediocre meat and potatoes action movies or mildly embarrassing disaster porn. On the surface, Greenland looks like it fits the second of these two groups perfectly Butler plays the typical blank slate family man seen in this type of narratives. He has to get his wife and kids to safety after they are chosen by presidential alert to be guaranteed a level of safety. This is all happening as a comment is on its way to wipe out large chunks of life as we know it. So far so generic right. It even comes to the screen from Ric Roman Wagh who collaborated with Butler previously thanks to being in the director’s chair for the last … Has Fallen entry. This critic is somewhat surprised to report that Greenland ( well nothing fantastic) is considerably better then it has any right to be.
Given the size and scale, one might expect from the genre this production was made on a relatively tight $35 million budget. This means proceedings will not indulge in automatic Roland Emmerich style destruction porn as much as some watchers might expect. This critic would argue that Greenland is a significantly better film for having these constraints placed on it. The story beats still feel entirely familiar. However, from the very opening scene, the presentation offers a much more grounded interpretation of them. There are flashes of world flattening desolation but for the most part, arcs focus on the ground level human drama in response to the comments incoming impact. Chris Spaulding’s screenplay may not be reinventing the wheel but has a good handle on how to pull off these tonal choices in an emotionally engaging manner. Things are helped along by solid performances. The cast is aware of what genre they are in but are not way playing down. This is especially true for Butler. His character may be something of an archetype but considering how effectively the man sleepwalks through a revolving door of generic schlock it’s refreshing to see him deliver material with some level of emotional conviction. Nothing here is truly exceptional and there is still a degree of conventionality throughout but it fee like the creative team did have a vision in a genre that so often doesn’t beyond how loud they can get whatever iconic landmark involved to ls explode.
Greenland is the kind of film that should be shown to aspiring filmmakers. Not because it offers anything particularly new or novel from a content perspective. It’s a relatively straight forward disaster picture playing into tropes audiences will have seen before. That said it’s a textbook example of how commitment to a quickly established tone and style can prove effective in establishing emotional engagement. This can also stretch the budget further in cases like this where the money at the filmmaker’s disposal was modest for the size and scale attempted. It’s an exceptionally solid addition to a genre that too often assumes audiences will be happy as long as they can watch some on-screen explosions. Viewers deserve better than that and this is certainly an above-average example of a very well worn group of movies
7.5/10

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