Like most accident thrillers, the remake Poseidon is full of unbelievable twists and turns, but it also makes for a fun action-packed ride despite its story shortcomings.
The plot consists of a colossal tidal wave in the North Atlantic Ocean hitting Poseidon, a luxury cruise ship, on New Year’s Eve causing it to capsize, wreaking havoc among its passengers as they make their way to the bottom, which is now the top.
First let me say that I’m a fan of the original 1972 film, The Poseidon Adventure. Despite being out of date technology-wise, the original film did a better job creating fuller characters, allowing viewers to become more attached and invested in them. Although Poseidon is a remake that borrows the same plot, all of the characters are new: so there isn’t the Gene Hackman reverend character or even the same stunts. Like the original, who lives and who survives is as random as life itself, and I appreciated that aspect despite its cruelty at times. Going with the gritty cruelty point, Poseidon does spotlight the causalities littered throughout the ocean liner, so do be prepared for that. I thought it was a little crazy that no one besides the handful of characters featured survived the initial onslaught. I kept expecting them to stumble upon someone else as they climbed their way to the hull, but only corpses are shown.
What makes the film even eerier than the original is the recent real-life tsunami in Asia, which makes the outlandish plot and circumstances uncomfortably possible. Seeing the massive boat flip over and being pummeled by the rogue wave as the water cascades inside is amazing and terrifying, although reminiscent of Titanic. It got to the point where were I one of the survivors, I’d be envying the passengers on the top deck who simply floated out to sea.
While a remake was definitely not necessary, the new special effects do make the story faster paced, more action packed , and quite a ride. I felt like I was on one of those virtual reality rides at MGM, where your seat moves along with the action that plays on the screen. Even though I was saying “come on” and “oh pahlease” out loud in protest at the constant crazy things happening on screen, I was still enjoying the spectacle of it all.
I was most surprised that the rogue wave hit the luxury cruise ship so soon into the film, since it didn’t allow for much time to get to know the characters; and from the moment the wave hits the action doesn’t let up for one minute.
It was nice to see Richard Dreyfuss in a film again, but was sad to see that he barely had more than 5 lines throughout the film since the narrative didn’t seem to provide much dialogue for him or anyone for that matter. Kurt Russell played his usual tight lipped action hero minus the Snake Plissken eye patch. This time he’s Robert Ramsey, a former NY mayor and fireman, as well as a concerned father on board.
Overall it is hard to say if anyone did a good or bad job since the action took precedence over the acting. I was impressed with Mia Maestro of Alias who played Elena a claustrophobic stowaway on board. Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama), Emmy Rossum (Phantom of the Opera), Freddy Rodriquez (Six Feet Under) and Andre Braugher (City of Angels) are also featured in supporting roles.
An action packed thriller and a technology spectacle worth seeing on the big screen to get the full feel.
Unbelievable, outlandish and disturbing.
On the Side:
The band leader on board during the New Year’s festivities is Stacy Ferguson a.k.a. Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. Also check out the official website for a cool video clip of the tsunami upon entering at www.poseidonmovie.com
Final Grade: B-
Release Date: May 12, 2006
Starring: Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum, Mía Maestro, Josh Lucas
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Writing Credits: Mark Protosevich (screenplay) Paul Gallico (novel)
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.
Run Time: 99 min.
Studio: Warner Brothers (official site)
By Tara Settembre, Staff Writer for Film School Rejects