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Ric Roman Waugh
Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd
Writing Credits:
Chris Sparling

A family struggles for survival in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 2/9/2021

• Audio Commentary with Director Ric Roman Waugh and Producer Basil Iwanyk
• 3 Deleted Scenes
• “Humanity” Featurette
• Preview
• DVD Copy


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Greenland [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 17, 2021)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of movies changed release dates or went straight to video instead. In the latter category fell Greenland, a disaster movie about the potential end of the world.

I admit I don’t understand why Greenland didn’t at least get a basic theatrical release. I get that it didn’t seem “blockbuster-worthy” enough for a delay until more theaters open, but why skip big screens entirely? Greenland seems like the kind of movie that works best in theaters, so its lack of US distribution beyond video disappoints.

Structural engineer John Garrity (Gerard Butler) finds himself estranged from his wife Allison (Morena Baccarin). However, when he returns to their Atlanta home, he attempts to reconcile, at least partly for the good of their diabetic son Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd).

Before long, a much bigger problem emerges, as a comet threatens to impact the Earth and end all life. As fragments level major parts of the planet, John attempts to shepherd his wife and son to sanctuary and safety.

After 300 made Butler a star in 2007, he struggled to find other projects that made a dent at the box office. Even though 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen spawned two sequels to date, none of them excelled at the box office. Indeed, I suspect the franchise continued mainly because the various Fallen flicks didn’t cost all that much for efforts in their genre.

As noted, Greenland got no US theatrical release. Though it ran outside of the States, it also suffered from more limited exhibition than otherwise would’ve occurred.

With a relatively small $35 million budget, it almost certainly would’ve turned a profit, but I doubt it would’ve broken Butler’s string of mediocre box office totals since 300.

I felt disappointed that Greenland never made it to my local multiplex, as I maintain a soft spot for this kind of flick. A child of the 1970s, I loved those disaster movies, and though most from modern day tales in the genre – or those from the 70s, too – stunk, I still maintain an interest in them and thought Greenland came with the potential to entertain.

And entertain it does – to a reasonable degree, at least. Greenland does nothing to reinvent the disaster field, but it manages to become a moderately effective action flick.

Of course, it doesn’t take much to find obvious antecedents here, with 1998’s Deep Impact as the most blatant inspiration. We also find hints of 2009’s 2012 and other genre flicks.

Though these become notable, they don’t make Greenland seem terribly derivative. Nothing here boasts much originality, but the movie spins the narrative just enough to avoid copycat status.

Greenland manages to build tension fairly well, especially as we approach the initial impact of the comet fragments. Because we saw trailers and synopses, we know mayhem will ensue, but the movie still leads up to these events in a taut manner.

Once this occurs, Greenland ladles out more than a few contrivances, mainly in an attempt to keep the Garrity clan from safety. These become the movie’s biggest burden, less because they seem silly and more because they stretch the film longer than it needs to go.

Not that 120 minutes seems extended for a tale such as Greenland, but the filmmakers don’t always use the running time as well as they should. The flick could probably lose about 10 to 15 minutes and become more effective.

Still, as modern-day disaster movies go, Greenland does more right than wrong. It manages reasonable drama and emotion as it produces a decent tale of survival.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

Greenland appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the most part, the image satisfied.

A bit of softness crept into the presentation at times, though not to a substantial degree. I saw the occasional slightly fuzzy shot but not more than that. Those instances didn’t dominate, so the majority of the film appeared accurate and concise.

I witnessed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed absent. Print flaws also never reared their ugly head, as the movie looked clean at all times.

Like most modern action films, Greenland opted for a stylized palette, so teal and orange/amber dominated. Within those choices, the hues appeared well-rendered.

Blacks seemed dense and firm, while shadows appeared fairly smooth and clear. The image wasn’t flawless, but it seemed solid for the most part.

As for the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Greenland, it worked well, as the movie presented an engaging soundfield. Not surprisingly, its best moments related to the mix of action and disaster scenes. These helped open up the spectrum pretty nicely and added real zing to the proceedings.

We got good stereo impressions from the music along with solid environmental material. The latter reverberated in the rear speakers to positive effect, and some unique action material popped up there as well. As one might expect, the various comet impacts added the most dynamic material and helped involve us in the proceedings.

No problems with audio quality occurred. Speech was always concise and natural, and I noticed no edginess or other concerns.

Music seemed bright and lively. Effects showed good distinctiveness, and they offered nice low-end when appropriate. All of this created a strong sonic impression that made the movie more involving.

When we shift to extras, we get an audio commentary from director Ric Roman Waugh and producer Basil Iwanyk. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, and related areas.

Occasionally Waugh and Iwanyk produce some useful details, but mostly they just praise the movie and all involved. This becomes dull approach to the film, one that leaves us with a forgettable commentary.

Footnote: in the category of "statements so wrong I needed to rewind and make sure I heard correctly": late in the film Waugh claims that Iceland only formed as a landmass 30 to 40 years ago. Of course, Waugh likely means 30 to 40 million years ago, which also appears incorrect - online sources state Iceland came to exist 20 to 25 million years in the past - but it's a lot closer to accurate to the belief Iceland arose from nowhere in 1985!

Three Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, seven seconds. We find “Colin” (1:58), “Poker” (1:08) and “Original Ending: (2:01).

The first two offer minor expansions of secondary characters and don’t add much. The “Ending” expands our view of the post-apocalypse Earth and seems vaguely interesting but not especially good.

We can watch these with or without intros from Waugh. With that option activated, the collection spans a total of seven minutes, 56 seconds.

Waugh gives us thoughts about the scenes but doesn’t tell us much about why he cut them. That makes his remarks less than useful.

Humanity runs one minutes, 20 seconds. It involves Waugh, VFX supervisor Marc Massicotte and actors Gerard Butler and Morena Baccarin. Expect basic promo material from this thin reel.

No one will view Greenland as a great disaster movie, but it manages to work for the most part. While it comes with a few hiccups, it turns into a fairly engaging and effective effort. The Blu-ray brings strong picture and audio as well as a few bonus materials. Greenland turns into an above average genre movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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