OF all the films denied cinematic release in the past 11 months, the ‘big ol’ stupid blockbuster’ has likely been the hardest hit.

These are the films whose monumental explosions and stunts belie a deficit of muscle in the brain department. Popcorn thrillers that demand the biggest screens and the loudest speakers to distract viewers from the very worst of scripts. Films like Ric Roman Waugh’s Greenland.

Starring Gerard Butler - alarm bells ringing already - as structural engineer John Garrity, Greenland tells the tale of one man’s mission to find sanctuary for his estranged wife and diabetic son as a planet-killing comet hurtles toward Earth.

Along the way, Garrity will face the best and worse of society. He will lose those who matter most to him and come within an inch of self-destruction.To be fair to all those involved in the production of Greenland, it’s not actually half bad.

Screenwriter Chris Sparling makes a concerted effort to scale down his explosive concept in favour of a broadly realistic human drama and finds sincerity in doing so. It is by sheer - but effective - coincidence, for instance, that the news reports of imminent global crisis consumed by the Garrity clan ring remarkably true to an audience who turned to televised broadcasts last year to follow the pandemic.

As a building maestro, John has been selected by the US government for survival. For, as it transpires, Western Europe is within 48 hours of being hit by an extinction level fragment of comet. In Greenland, a military bunker - think Noah’s Ark - is waiting to save only the brightest and best of humanity, who might one day rebuild civilisation.

Alongside Butler, Deadpool star Morena Baccarin and newcomer Roger Dale Floyd play John’s wife and son respectively, with Scott Glen, David Denman and Hope Davis filing out the cast. There’s no chance of a gong for any of them but Glen at least stands out.

Greenland isn’t as hokum as much as in Butler’s back catalogue and proves more unsettling for it. Sure, it’s daft and wheels out it’s fair share of preposterous set pieces, but Waugh’s fastidious attention to detail deserves credit.

The social splintering that offers a backdrop to the central plot might once have felt a distant threat but how about now? I’m not so sure.

It’s available now online