Who's up for a grim movie about the end of the world? Hands? No one?
The opaquely titled "Greenland" is actually decent, but its holiday-season-in-the-middle-of-a-pandemic timing is unfortunate. Before I saw it, I figured it for a gleefully dopey disaster movie along the lines of Dwayne Johnson in "San Andreas" or Dwayne Johnson in "Skyscraper" or Dwayne Johnson in everything. It isn't. It's a buzzkill family drama that takes place as enormous asteroids smash into our planet, destroying entire continents.
"Greenland's" serious approach is reflected in its first 15 minutes, which dwell on foreshadowing while some viewers — OK, me — may think, "We get it. Start smashing up Earth, already." John (Gerard Butler, using his Scottish accent) and estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) are tensely preparing a barbecue in Atlanta when Blake gets a government text that his family — including a small son whose diabetes will be a key plot point — has been selected for a mysterious evacuation. When their TV begins showing fiery rocks descending around the globe, they throw some things in a suitcase and hit the road for, we find out halfway into the movie, an underground safe house in Greenland.
Why they've been chosen and whether they'll ever get to the Far North island are the key questions as the family navigates desperate neighbors, jammed traffic and gun-toting creeps on their way to the airport. The effects are well done — clearly designed for the big screens they can't appear on in Minnesota — and the cast is impressive. Baccarin, probably best known as the wife of the first Big Bad on Showtime's "Homeland," is exceptional as a woman with stress coming at her from all directions.
It's capably done, if familiar, but "Greenland" forces viewers to ask this question: "Do I need more apocalyptic cruelty in my life?"
Chris Hewitt • 612-673-4367
⋆⋆½ out of four stars
Rating: PG-13 for language and violence.
Streaming: Premium on-demand services.