By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

When I signed up to review this film, I had the strong feeling that I had selected a disastrous disaster film. What I mean by disastrous is that I just had a bad feeling that this would be another horrendous overindulgent spectacle of bad CG destruction and armageddon. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The filmmakers behind Greenland have instead made a movie that focuses on their lead characters and how they come together to get though a global disaster in progress.

Gerard Butler stars as John Garrity, as structural engineer working hard to get back into the good graces of his wife Allison (Morena Baccarin). Recently, John and Allison have had some marital problems, mostly thanks to the infidelity of John. While they are in the process of working things out, an unthinkable situation arises. An interstellar comet dubbed Charlie, once reported to be benign, starts to wreak havoc on the world. As the comet slowly falls apart and parts of it begin to strike the Earth, Garrity receives an emergency presidential message indicating that he and his family have been chosen for evacuation, as the comet is about to cause a global disaster of major proportions. However, just as John, Allison, and their son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) are about to evacuate their town, Nathan’s medical condition further complicates matters.

Written by Chris Sparling and directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Greenland manages to defy all of my negative expectations. Sparling and Waugh have smartly chosen to develop their characters and story well and keep the disaster mostly in the background. That is not to say that there are no intense terrifying moments and visuals, but the filmmakers and their effect team utilize these moments only when appropriate and never get too overzealous with what they can do. The main focus of the movie deals with how humanity deals with the castastrophe.

The Garrity family must remain strong and put their troubles behind them to help each other get through the ordeal. The filmmakers develop their story realistically, but obviously make their journey the ideal example. On the other end of the spectrum, the film portrays the ugly side of humanity as other characters resort to nasty deeds, lies, and deception in their attempts to survive. The film doesn’t get as ugly as it possibly could, but keeps it real enough to warrant a PG-13 rating.

I must also give some kudos to the cast who helps keep the drama and action feeling as genuine and real as it needs to be. Gerard Butler performs well as the strong and determined patriarch/husband John Garrity. The lovely and talented Morena Baccarin also gives an emotional and powerful performance as the strong and determined mother and wife. I was also impressed with young actor Roger Dale Floyd who performs tremendously as Nathan Garrity, the medically troubled and sweet-natured son of John and Allison. Greenland also can boast fine work by actors Scott Glenn, David Denham, Hope Davis, and several others.

The intense action and emotional drama might be a bit much for the younger members of the family, so Greenland is probably best watched by the more mature pre-teens and older members of the family. It is a movie I do highly recommend for a night of family bonding over the holiday break, but maybe on a night when the little ones are busy watching something more appropriate for their age level in another room. Greenland is now available on Video-on -Demand.

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