Gerard Butler rides to the rescue in disaster film 'Greenland'
"Greenland" -- ★ ★
At first, I thought someone had played a practical joke on me.
I had just started watching a digital press screener for Gerard Butler's new thriller "Greenland" when I noticed it: My name in large letters centered across the lower half of the screen just above bright-white letters spelling out "Property of STXfilms."
Except that my first name had been misspelled as "Dam" -- with an N on the end.
I began to wonder if this had been a simple error, or if I had inadvertently offended someone, as I became distracted by the anti-piracy watermarks instead of focusing on the movie.
That's the problem when intrusive digital watermarks corrupt the visuals in the cinematic art form. They diminish the quality of the viewing experience, even in an unremarkable survival tale such as "Greenland."
Former stuntman Ric Roman Waugh directs "Greenland" as a vintage 1970s disaster thriller merged with a standard-issue Lifetime Channel domestic drama, a genre hybrid in which a badly broken marriage is easily mended by a disintegrating comet nicknamed Clarke, threatening to wipe out all life on Earth.
Butler -- reuniting with his 2019 "Angel Has Fallen" director Waugh -- plays middle-aging structural engineer John Garrity. He's busy building skyscrapers when he receives a cryptic presidential alert on his phone, urging him and his family to relocate to a secure military bunker immediately.
But John has been booted out of his house by his angry wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) for reasons revealed much later. Still, he persuades her and their young son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd) to pack up and go, tearfully leaving behind their friends and neighbors, some pleading for the Garritys to take their children with them to safety.
As "Greenland" chugs along, fueled by its race-against-the-clock premise, comet fragments shower the planet with fiery destruction.
We've seen this movie before with its scenes of looting and lawlessness as panic sets in. (We are spared watching strangers perform one last desperate dance of the wild bunnies on the street as depicted in the less-conventional doomsday drama "Miracle Mile" -- although a group of millennials parties here as the world burns.)
After the Garritys become separated by the military, John spends a chunk of running time on finding his family, who bump into both kind and dangerous people along the way.
But by then, I don't give a Dann.
• • •
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd, Scott Glenn
Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh
Other: An STXfilms release of a production from Riverstone Pictures, Thunder Road Pictures, G-BASE, Anton Capital Entertainment, Truenorth Productions. On demand. Rated PG-13 for language, bloody images and violence. 119 minutes