"Greenland" is a the latest in a long line of disaster pictures - evoking everything from the "Earthquake" films in the 70s to "Deep Impact" in the 90s and "2012" in this millennium.
And while the film does hit all the familiar notes in the genre, director Ric Roman Waugh and writer Chris Sparling has crafted a movie that is adds a little unexpected substance to all the chaos.
In "Greenland" Gerard Butler plays John Garrity, a working man trying to keep his family together. Although estranged from his wife Allison (Morena Baccarin), John plays the part of family patriarch joining his wife and son Nathan (Roger Dale Ford) at a neighborhood party to celebrate the arrival of a mysterious comet that can be seen around the world as it passes earth.
It turns out though that this comet isn't just a harmless passerby, but is starting to come apart in fragments that make it the potential to be a planet killer. As the fragments start to destroy cities around the world, John gets a notice that his family has been selected by the government to be evacuated to a secret location that is suspected to be out of harms way of the comet.
And this is where "Greenland" veers into some surprisingly effective territory - with the film becoming more about the family trying to navigate through a journey paved by many people not selected and willing to do anything to take the family's place. There is a paranoia in the plot turn that makes it way more effective than your standard countdown to the end of the world story (if you are a fan of those kind of movies, don't worry it is still here).
Butler is in his action hero element here - continuing to prove that he has found his niche playing the kind of roles Arnold Schwarzenegger made a career out of in the late 80s and early 90s.
"Greenland" does start to bog down a bit in the final act when it goes back to the more conventional disaster film tropes, but there is still enough here to provide a fresh spin on the genre. It's a film that fans of the genre will enjoy, while others will still be satisfied with how it all unfolds.