New to Blu: Greenland (2020) - Reviewed

Angel Has Fallen director Ric Roman Waugh’s Greenland is another disaster porn flick about a comet on a collision course with Earth ala Deep Impact or Armageddon except that this one stars Gerard Butler and was from Chris Sparling who wrote Gus Van Sant’s poorly received The Sea of Trees.  Judging from the trailer alone, this is pretty run of the mill fare but thanks to an already very real ongoing pandemic which delayed the release numerous times, the film became a minor hit during a time when theaters were shuttered and pictures can barely break even.  Plus this one’s got some surprising turns from Scott Glenn and Hope Davis in it.

Engineer John Garrity (Butler) and his distant wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) life together with their diabetic son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd).  On his downtime he gazes upon the near-Earth passing comet Clarke in the skies above.  One morning, John receives a mysterious phonecall indicating he and his family have been selected for emergency sheltering in anticipation of the comet Clarke’s apparent collision course with Earth, expected to cause an event that will wipe out all animal and human life.  Thus begins the family’s ordeal and uphill battle as they struggle to find the boarding site and are hit with one disaster movie obstacle after the next.
For an end of the world movie, Greenland is a tightly budgeted CGI fest though some shots of an impending fire cloud and wide shots of the Earth riddled with newly rendered craters are visually exciting.  Gerard Butler’s, let’s be honest, a schlock actor in a schlock movie but he does a serviceable job playing the heroic leading man.  The film takes a brief detour with the arrival of Hope Davis as a helpful bystander while secretly harboring an ulterior motive.  Still, Greenland is mostly a showcase for the film’s visual effects sequences of fragments of the comet destroying everything in their path. 

Compared by critics to Steven Spielberg’s own War of the Worlds for how it views the disaster through the eyes of an everyman trying to protect his family, Greenland is a decently made technical distraction for two hours offering up an end of the world scenario at a time when mankind faced its biggest threat in over a century.  It won’t offer anything you haven’t already seen before but it proves to be a good way to kill two hours.  If nothing else it is far better than most of what we’re used to seeing Gerard Butler in.

--Andrew Kotwicki