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Overall Rating
3.14

Awesome: 3.85%
Worth A Look37.5%
Just Average: 34.62%
Pretty Crappy: 17.31%
Sucks: 6.73%

10 reviews, 44 user ratings


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Poseidon
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by Jay Seaver

"Drowns the audience in eye candy, then gets washed away."
3 stars

There's no fat on Warner Brothers' new adaptation of "The Poseidon Adventure". It establishes the setting and sketches its characters out quickly before getting to the meat of the picture, the action. The problem with there not being much fat on the picture is what anybody who has gone for the low-cal version of anything knows: You lose the fat, you lose half the flavor.

It takes maybe ten minutes to introduce us to the double handful of people on the ocean liner Poseidon during its New Year's Eve voyage that will turn out to be significant. Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell) is a former mayor of New York, traveling with his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) and her boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel); he's uncomfortable with her being all grown up and having girl parts. Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas) is a professional gambler (or so he says!); he hits on Maggie James (Jacinda Barrett) and isn't scared off by her ten-year-old son Conor (Jimmy Bennett). Ramsey and Johns are playing poker with "Lucky Larry" (Kevin Dillon), while on the other side of the ballroom, Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss) is getting ready to jump off the side of the ship because his partner stood him up at the dock. Elena Gonzalez (Mia Maestro) has stowed away with galley mate Marco Valentin (Freddy Rodriguez). Shortly after the captain (Andre Braugher) announces that midnight has passed, an enormous rogue tidal wave hits, leaving the ship upside down. Johns decides he's not going to wait for rescue in the ballroom, the others fall in, and the group sets off to climb up to the bottom of the ship.

Pretty much all you learn about the characters, you get before disaster strikes. This isn't a "characters face danger and discover new reservoirs of strength" type of disaster movie; it's the "lethal but cool-looking obstacle course" type. We have a personal stake in these characters' survival because they're the guys who got the extra five seconds of screen time in the opening scenes, whereas the rest of the drowned, burned, and pulverized passengers and crew are just so many extras. You can predict a certain amount of who will survive and who won't just from credit placement and familiarity with how a film manufactured by a studio will run. A familiar name listed after several unknown ones and preceded by "and" is likely not long for the world, and focus groups are going to have very different ideas about the acceptability of a little kid and a grown woman losing a parent.

It's almost irrelevant to complain about that, though, because the filmmakers don't make it a priority; if they'd wanted this to be a character-based story, they'd have taken more from the source material than just the idea of the good ship Poseidon being upside down (at least, I presume that's all that screenwriter Mark Protosevich retained from Paul Gallico's novel; none of the character names, at least, match up with previous versions). This movie is about narrow escapes and grand-scale set pieces, blown up larger than life. If you want more than rudimentary interpersonal drama, go watch TV. We've got sets to flood, fires to set, and tunnels to crawl through.

And credit where credit's due - director Wolfgang Petersen and his crew do a fantastic job flooding sets, setting fires, and pushing the cast through tunnels. Petersen doesn't really do as much as he could with the upside-down-ness of the environment, but the moments when he does are nicely off-kilter, as folks in the audience have brief moments of wondering why that piano is nailed to the ceiling, or tilt their heads to read something on the wall. Everyone gets good and wet, with the water clear enough and the lighting (improbably) good enough to give us the sense of an actual place being flooded, rather than just a tight shot of the corner of a soundstage. There are corpses everywhere to remind the audience of the danger, although several set pieces - I'm specifically thinking of a moment when a gushing spout of oil ignites in the middle of a shaft, giving us a pillar of fire rising from rising waters - provoke a "man, that's cool" reaction rather than one of "man, that's life-threatening danger." The effects and photography are top-notch throughout, but the tone isn't.

Each member of the cast does as well as one would expect them too individually. There's something tremendously unfair about a movie that gives us Andre Braugher as the captain of the ship and doesn't involve him in the main action but does serve up a whole heaping helping of Josh Lucas. Lucas isn't bad, but does kind of yell a little too loud when being intense; he doesn't so much create a character as make one wish the filmmakers had spent the money on the real Matthew McConaughey. Most of the cast is decent enough, not affecting tics or the like to distinguish themselves, and so remain believable but not memorable (an early conversation with Josh Lucas and Jacinda Barrett is almost self-referential in how blandly generic the characters and their interactions are). Dreyfuss and Dillon are one notch more fey and two more smarmy, respectively, than they have to be, but that's okay. The best work is turned in by Kurt Russell and Mia Maestro; Russell has been doing these big adventure movies for so long that turning on just the right amount of charm to sell stupid lines to the audience is second nature, while Maestro has the advantage of not only more backstory to her than any of the other characters, but she gets to be the girl who freaks out in small spaces. It's cheap emotion, but it's real enough for us to buy it.

But that's not the point, though. It looks good, even blown up to IMAX-size. The soundtrack hits all the right notes, and Petersen can get the most out of a moment. Not many of those moments will stick with you afterward, but they're fun enough at the time.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14526&reviewer=371
originally posted: 05/16/06 20:36:51
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell exciting with good effects 4 stars
7/28/11 Bob Dog A great b-movie - best disaster movie I've seen in years! 5 stars
5/17/11 Ravenmad I wouldn't want to die like this, but almost did watching this film. 2 stars
11/22/09 Jeff Wilder Story's predictable, no real suspense and we don't care about the characters. 2 stars
11/02/09 Darryl Great sp. effects, stars & fast-paced! Dreyfuss miscast, Cary Elwes wouldve been perfect. 4 stars
8/13/09 Dan better than you've heard, if still imperfect 3 stars
3/25/09 Eric Much better than I thought it'd be - avoid comparing to original and judge on its own merit 4 stars
2/11/09 Stewart Worst movie I have ever seen! No story or characters, just special effects and bad acting. 1 stars
1/15/09 Shaun Wallner Very Interesting 4 stars
4/06/08 art IT IS LIKE A COMPUTER GAME RATHER THAN A MOVIE 3 stars
1/14/08 JM Synth Generic with paper thin characters, but great action and suspense 4 stars
1/12/08 Brian Mckay Better than Titanic - at least you don't have to sit through bullshit love story first. 4 stars
10/01/07 Rick Excellent action, but weak character development. Still, awesome f/x make it worth seeing. 4 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega Great effects, set design and action, but, like the Poseidon, sinks too quickly. 3/5. 3 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK To sum it up, Battlefield Earth was better. 1 stars
2/27/07 Stanley Thai This film doesn't need character developement and has very good action scenes. 4 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega This remake is great to watch. 4 stars
1/23/07 Matt Lame,rushed,tooshort-and this time we don't give a shit who lives or dies. 2 stars
10/16/06 Mystique This movie really sucks; it's terribly cliché. You're better off renting "Titanic". 1 stars
10/12/06 Indrid Cold Suitably white-knuckle update of the original. 3 stars
10/07/06 Rhonda Heaslip In my opinion it was an awesome movie that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved it! 5 stars
9/26/06 Anthony Feor I wish i had saw the origional before this, however it comes quite close to it 4 stars
9/02/06 Dragon The Artist A pretty good, ownable rehash of The Posiedon Adventure 4 stars
9/01/06 Danny Even without compairing it to 1972 classic, still merely average and pretty forgettable. 3 stars
8/28/06 David Hasslehof Not enough substance - could have been Titanic set in the modern era - Godzilla anyone? 3 stars
8/23/06 action movie fan sometimes exciting but you.ve seen it all before--ship is the only thing new 3 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant It feels longer than 'Titanic', and is a collosal piece of ass. Hated every frame. 1 stars
7/24/06 malcolm thrilling but ultimately forgettable 3 stars
6/04/06 Jon With excellent suspense and action Poseidon makes the already good old one perfect! 5 stars
6/02/06 MickOZ Are you over 14? If so you have seen this type of shite countless times. 2 stars
6/02/06 MP Bartley Fun for the moment but entirely forgettable. Wavers between average and worth a look. 3 stars
5/28/06 inty speed 2 was better 1 stars
5/23/06 Navi this movie just plain sucks. Maybe add a few details about characters, and make an ending. 2 stars
5/21/06 Jeff Anderson Waterlogged to say the least & cruel. Cast & effects are far better than film deserves! 2 stars
5/19/06 Staci Typical blockbuster filled with thrills and chills galore. 4 stars
5/18/06 Mase Quick and painless, if you are looking for great visuals and no depth...enjoy 3 stars
5/17/06 michael not too bad and close to the first movie...now if they would just think up some new ideas 4 stars
5/17/06 Gavin Bamber If you've seen Titanic, you've seen it already 3 stars
5/17/06 JOHN PETERSON When I saw this about 29 years ago, it was mediocre at best. This tiime special effects is 3 stars
5/16/06 Astro Boye THis movie Sucked- Homopphobia and racial bias sink this ship! 1 stars
5/15/06 pipe 10 minutes of decent special effects and 1-1/2 hours of mind-numbing plot and dialog. Glug 1 stars
5/13/06 Ron Green The special effects were great! It makes the original poseidon look like a sailboat! 4 stars
5/12/06 Captain Highcrime Moved so fast...Wolfgang must have been double-parked outside the post house. 4 stars
5/12/06 Mike C. Finally a movie that lived up to its preview. It kicked ass! Very intense! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Aug-2006

UK
  02-Jun-2006

Australia
  01-Jun-2006




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