• Nate Adams

Review: Gerard Butler disaster flick 'Greenland' doesn't suck


Courtesy of STX

Ric Roman Waugh’s mid-budget disaster flick “Greenland” - starring Gerard Butler, and made from the same team who delivered “Angel Has Fallen” - not sucking might be the biggest surprise of 2020. Maybe it’s because we’re currently living through a global crisis like the one on screen, or my expectations were extremely low. Whichever way you slice it, “Greenland” is a throwback to the era when Roland Emmerich made good doomsday movies and maybe that’s not a bad thing. 


This contrived “man must save family from an apocalypse” narrative gets hammered out to great detail, but there are moments where “Greenland” reminds us why these movies resonated with audiences. It’s a resourceful, completely implausible B-movie where Butler is believable? Deep down, “Greenland” tells us that it doesn’t matter if an earth-shattering comet plans to extinct humanity, we need to cherish our loved ones, and appreciate life. 


Butler, in his best movie since “Olympus Has Fallen,” plays John Garrity, a Scottish structural engineer whose marriage to Allison (Morena Baccarin – doing work) is slowly falling apart. We don’t know why their relationship is on the rocks, but impending doom has a way of bringing the family together! It’s surprising that a movie with minimal character development sees this arch all the way through, eventually coming full circle during the film's climax. Vivá la cinema! The only thing keeping John and Allison together is their young, diabetic, son Nathan (Roger Floyd) whose dependence on insulin provides the film’s most nail biting sequence.


Additionally, Nathan is obsessed with a comet that’s hurling towards Earth. Nicknamed “Clark” by NASA, this unknown entity came from another solar system. Nobody knows what to expect, but scientists are predicting it’ll safely land in our ocean thus causing minimal damage.


Foolish mortals.


Clark has other plans. He’s composed of fragments big enough to kill millions with each blow, and one giant chunk – some 48 hours away from making landfall – will destroy humanity. Where’s Billy Bob Thornton or Bruce Willis when we need them!? There’s a horrifying sense of dread that begins washing over the Garrity’s and their friendly neighborhood pals as they watch Clark decimate everything in its path. “Greenland” presents the ultimate “What would you do?” scenario and honestly, who the hell knows?


But due to his expertise as an engineer, John is deemed essential by the United States government to pack up his family and join others from around the world in an underground bunker where they’ll be tasked with rebuilding mankind. Where will they be going? It’s as simple as the title. But once nationwide paranoia sets in, and folks catch wind of the plan to save certain individuals, all hell breaks loose.


From there, “Greenland'' has plenty of close calls (the inevitable separation between John and his family is a lesson in potboiler tension) and their plans, obviously, hit speed-bumps. Sure, the pacing and plotting get more ridiculous as Butler hastily attempts to lead his family to safety, but Waugh’s ability to keep “Greenland” operating on a human level when flashy explosions and unpredictable characters is what folks shelling out $20 expect to see, deserves praise. Some might be surprised at how much “Greenland’ excites and moves them.


Grade: B


GREENLAND debuts on PVOD Friday, December 18th