Greenland Parent Guide
A movie about a global catastrophe might not be what you want to watch in 2020.
Parent Movie Review
John Garrity (Gerard Butler) thought his year was about as bad as it was likely to get following a disastrous low point in his marriage to Allison (Morena Baccarin) – but he underestimated the potential for further calamity. A cluster of asteroids is on a collision course with Earth, and while some of the fragments are small enough to burn up in the atmosphere, many aren’t; when one makes landfall in Tampa, the impact causes a shockwave that blows in the Garrity’s windows in their Atlanta home. Although they seem to be in good shape for an emergency evacuation, the situation is complicated and getting worse all the time…
As disaster movies go, Greenland is pretty impressive. It’s got a lot of the visual drama of 2012 but without as much goofy over-the-top CGI and poor character work. I mean, this isn’t a cutting edge character study, but the filmmakers do actually seem to care about the characters as people as much as they care about them as plot elements. That’s because Greenland gets a lot of its tension and intensity from the emotional lives of the characters, and that doesn’t work as well when you’ve got one dimensional cutouts. Morena Baccarin is carrying more than her share of weight in that department, but she’s always been a sensational actress, so I’m not particularly surprised that she’s bringing real heart to this.
Greenland is also remarkably mild as big apocalypse movies go. Yes, people are dramatically killed, but almost always offscreen or at a scale so large that no gruesome detail is visible. There are some exceptions, but even those are no more graphic than what you’d find in your average superhero movie these days. The other big issue is profanity, but frankly, if you find out Chicken Little was right all along and there’s an extinction-level asteroid heading for your house, I think you’re allowed to cut loose a little. It’s still not a good choice for little kids, but it’s definitely a fun movie night for teenagers.
That said, now may not be the best time to watch the end of the world on screen. We’ve dealt with enough history being made in this foul year of our Lord 2020 without playing the “what if’s” of dangerous asteroids in our heads. If it’s any comfort, this kind of mass extinction is unlikely to creep up on us out of nowhere. First, space is huge and there’s a lot more not-Earth than Earth out there for asteroid clusters to demolish. Second, almost every major astrophysics organization from NASA on down to your local astronomy club tracks big stuff like this – it would be really hard to hide an event like this for any amount of time. If that’s not reassuring enough for you, then don’t watch this movie. You’re stressed enough as it is, and you should give yourself a break. Go eat some carbs and watch the mindless movie of your choice – as 2020 draws to a close, we’ve all earned it.Directed by Ric Roman Waugh. Starring Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, and Roger Dale Floyd. Running time: 119 minutes. Theatrical release December 18, 2020. Updated February 26, 2021
Watch the trailer for Greenland
Rating & Content Info
Why is Greenland rated PG-13? Greenland is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of disaster action, some violence, bloody images and brief strong language.
Violence: Millions, if not billions, of people are killed in natural disasters or accidents. Several individuals are shot and killed in related events. An individual is killed with a hammer in an act of self defense. Many characters are pushed and shoved extensively.
Sexual Content: There are brief non-graphic references to adultery.
Profanity: There are 16 uses of scatological cursing and one use of the sexual expletive. There are frequent terms of deity and occasional mild profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Background characters are shown drinking socially
Page last updated February 26, 2021
Greenland Parents' Guide
This movie emphasizes strong family bonds and the importance of determination and hard work. What do each of the main characters learn about themselves and one another? How do these events affect their relationship? Do you think the disaster helps them prioritize, or is it just a confusing distraction? How do you think you would react in this situation?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Walter M. Miller’s novel A Canticle for Liebowitz explores how humanity would rebuild from a nuclear war through the lens of religion and philosophy.
The most recent home video release of Greenland movie is February 9, 2021. Here are some details…
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For some of the facts about meteorites, Werner Herzog’s documentary Fireball is an excellent resource. Other disaster movies about asteroid impacts include Armageddonand Deep Impact. A child friendly alternative is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. More generic disaster fare options are 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and Geostorm, which also features Gerard Butler. Other films taking a serious look at what happens after the apocalypse tend to be nuclear in nature, and include films like On the Beach, The Day After (originally released on television, and one of the most disturbing films ever made), and even the more comical Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.