Some may argue against turning on Amazon Prime Video for a new disaster movie when we can just turn on the news and see one in real life, yet Greenland offers a fun take on the genre that provides believable performances and a sense of realism that sets it apart from the rest.
Written by Becca Johnson
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh and starring Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin, end-of-the-world action flick Greenland follows an estranged couple who are trying to repair their relationship whilst trying to save themselves and their son from incoming comet 'Clarke'. Greenland manages to give us an admirable balance of family drama and high stakes action, as the script allows us to form a much-needed attachment with our characters yet keeps us entertained by violence and destruction. Butler and Baccarin give surprisingly good performances, demonstrating realistic chemistry and a sense of urgency that's needed to make disaster movies work. Roger Dale Floyd also acted well, playing young son Nathan with a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes that causes bumps along the way.
The film is at it's strongest when diving into social commentary. Through betrayals and disgraceful acts of villainy, Greenland manages to showcase the two realistic sides of humanity in this situation. Our characters experience natural human kindness along their journey, meeting people who want to help them to safety. However, they also come face to face with those who will do anything to get to safety, whether that endangers others or not. Greenland manages to demonstrate both sides perfectly, posing questions and making the audience think about how they would act when put in this life or death situation. There is violence, rage and jealousy over those who are selected for shelter, yet there are those who just want to party until they meet their demise.
With any disaster movie, as soon as the play button is pressed, the audience is aware of how the plot will play out. It's not hard to work out who will survive, who will die and who we shouldn't trust along the way. Unfortunately, Greenland does fall into the predictable and formulaic category at times, which has the ability to hinder enjoyment whilst watching. It can be dumb and unbelievable at times, and you'll probably find yourself making a tally of how many times you say 'How did they survive that?', but the sense of urgency, high stakes and emotional impact cannot be denied.
On the surface, Greenland may not add anything fresh or new to the very over-done genre of disaster movies, yet it provides two hours of fun and entertaining escapism. Gerard Butler is better than he's been in a while, in a powerful and engaging storyline. You might know exactly how it plays out already, but this one definitely deserves a chance.