- Cynthia Tapia Leyva
The STXfilms, G-BASE, Anton, Thunder Road Pictures film, Greenland, was directed by Ric Roman Waugh and edited by Gabriel Fleming. The film was originally planned for theatrical release but due to current circumstances, was decided to be released digitally instead. It is an apocalyptic thriller starring Gerard Butler who has starred in many other films such as 300 and Phantom of the Opera. Greenland's overall story is somewhat intriguing though predictable. It is about the Garitty family as they desperately attempt to find a way to escape the inevitable coming of comet Clarke that would destroy earth much like the one that drove the dinosaurs into extinction. Many of the CGI scenes are great and don’t distract from the overall story, though the editing is a different story.
The story begins as John Garitty makes his way back home after work to his wife, Allison Garitty, to help prepare their son’s birthday party. The camera movements switch off from a still to moving, which become noticeable in between the different shots. An example is seen when the audience is given a still shot of John driving and it cuts to a pan from the passenger’s right side of the car. From this angle, it reveals the view of another vehicle cutting in front of him, and continuing a pan to his reaction. The cut from the still to the pan was very disorienting and unnecessary. There are other couple of drone shots that felt long, which made the introduction to the movie slow. As John arrives home, we are given signs of their unsteady relationship. The camera is placed on the inside of the house as we see his reaction of self conflict whether to knock on the door or just use his key. It is a good shot because it gives the viewer a clue of what his relationship is like with his wife even before they have interacted.
Once we see their first interaction, it is a bit distracting how the shots go from over the shoulder to cutting them out of frame completely when switching off in dialogue. The cuts are quick and without transition in between scenes and overall basic. The cut away shots to the tv, though they provide information to what's happening to the outside world, feel too direct and very often. On tv, the news explains that a comet is approaching earth though it is no cause for panic. It would have been better to hear it in the background while seeing more interactions between John and Allison. This would provide more depth to how they work together to make it through situations when they were not in good terms to begin with.
When John goes with his son to the grocery store, the camera is very shaky as it follows them out of the car and around the store. The jittery camera movements fit very well with this film but don't match well when combined in a scene with no camera movement. It feels like you're taken out of the film rather than being drawn into it, as if making the viewer step back from the action. The movie begins to pick up pace as he receives a presidential alert that he has been selected for bunker relocation. The cuts become faster as he races home to find out what’s going on. The camera panned around to the reaction of their friends at the party seeing that he was selected after they felt a shockwave of the first of many comets on their way to earth, mainly the biggest one called Clarke. The camera movement back and forth gives it a very raw feel and a sense of urgency which does well for the film. It would have been better to keep only the handheld camera feel shots instead of adding the stills on the tv, which made it feel long.
Both actors, Gerard and Morena, played well in the film. Though it may not have been the best of best, it is still passable as a weekend movie of guilty pleasure. The son, Nathan, was played by Roger Dale Floyed. For a kid, he did amazingly specifically in a scene where he is being kidnapped from his mom. The camera movements are shaky, but his desperation in the acting was noticeable and the camera movement worked well with the scene. There are a couple of times when the camera movements are too exaggerated, such as having a close up, and having to look up and down to what the person is doing. There is another example of a fight, the cuts were fast but the scenes were too dark to be able to see how our “hero” is doing.
Overall it is a fun movie to sit back on a lazy weekend. The storyline is easy to follow along with and actors do a decent job. There were a few amazing shots here and there, the CGI for example was well put together. Some scenes definitely would have been better if put in a certain way as already explained above. Greenland would be a 3 out of 5, more so because of presentation and layout of the editing. Though predictable and basic editing, it was still enjoyable to watch.