US Release Date: 05-12-2006
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
- Josh Lucas, as
- John Dylan
- Kurt Russell, as
- Robert Ramsey
- Jacinda Barrett, as
- Maggie James
- Richard Dreyfuss, as
- Richard Nelson
- Jimmy Bennett, as
- Conor James
- Emmy Rossum, as
- Jennifer Ramsey
- Mike Vogel, as
- MÃa Maestro as
- Elena Gonzalez
Mike Vogel and Emmy Rossum in Poseidon.
Sometimes low expectations can really benefit a movie. After all the negative reviews, I went into Poseidon with no anticipation. The opening shot of the very obviously CGI ship did little to raise my hopes. Oddly enough though, once the movie got going I found I was actually enjoying myself. Oh sure, it's a total B-movie with melodrama mixed in with the action, but come on, that's exactly what the original was. The original just has the benefit of time behind it so that it's now considered a classic.
The plot, like most disaster movies, is pretty straightforward. A cruise ship crossing the Atlantic on New Year's Eve, is struck by a “rogue wave" that tips it completely over. A group of 10 passengers decide that the only way to survive is to make their way to the bottom of the ship (which is now the top of the ship) and escape through the propeller shaft. The rest of the passengers decide, based on the urging of the Captain, to remain where they are in the grand ballroom. Since the group of 10 are the stars, you can probably guess what happens to those who stay behind.
Instead of being led by a Priest this time around, the motley group of survivors is following Dylan (Lucas), a professional gambler. Dylan is at first only looking out for himself and doesn't even want the others to come with him, but they attach themselves to him anyway. This is actually the biggest difference between the original and this one. Whereas Gene Hackman's Priest was a man who had lost his faith in God and in fact gets quite angry at God by the film's end, Dylan starts out a fairly cynical and only looking out for number one type of guy, but by the end is willing to risk his own life to save the people with him.
The other passengers trying to escape include the former Mayor of New York (Russell) and his daughter (Rossum) and his daughter's fiancée, a gay architect (Dreyfuss (mental note: never go on the ocean with this man, bad things happen in movies when he's on the Atlantic)), a mother and her young son, a waiter, a stowaway, and a drunken passenger who doesn't really like anybody else. Naturally, not all of them will survive. Some will die by accident, one will be sacrificed to save another, and at least one will sacrifice themselves to save all the others.
It is the set that is the real star of the movie though. The different obstacles that confront the passengers as they work their way through the hallways, elevator shafts and air vents add up to some very tense moments. Perhaps the most knuckle-biting moment is when they find themselves stranded in a chamber with the water rising at their feet and the only way out through a door that will open only when the room is flooded. They must wait until the room fills completely with water, holding their breathes, hoping that the door will open.
Personally I don't know what's not to enjoy here. This is perfect big-budget B-movieness. Simple plot, lots of action and a bit of melodrama thrown in just for kicks. Sit back and enjoy!
Josh Lucas in Poseidon.
Remakes should never be compared to the original so as to let both films stand on their own. In the case of Poseidon being a remake of The Poseidon Adventure there is only one comment to make. The movies are, for the most part, the same. We the audience have changed. Since 9/11, we can no longer look at people trapped in desperate situations the same as we did in 1972. United 93 showed real people in a fight for their lives. The passengers aboard The Poseidon are out of someone's imagination and thus we, the audience, do not have an emotional connection to them.
Peterson is a great action director. The effects and situations thrown at the people trying to escape are all well shot. The problem is that there is never any character development. We meet them all early on. Each one is given a distinct personality trait and then the wave hits.
Considering again that these are not real people it is probably best that Peterson did not waste time trying to develop these characters. Even if he would have devoted a good hour to the movie before the wave hit would the audience had cared anymore about them? As Scott wrote, this is a B movie riding on the gimmick of people trapped upside down in a ship. Enjoy it for what it is and you will find that Poseidon is a good watch that will keep your interest even though it does not actually engage you emotionaly.
Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas and Richard Dreyfuss in Poseidon.
As a huge fan of the original I was at first appalled at the idea of this remake. But after seeing it I have to admit it's slightly better than I expected. But then again it is a hell of a story. I disagree with what Eric says about fictional characters lacking an emotional impact. Clearly he had just watched United 93. Of course true stories will always have a more immediate connection but that doesn't mean that a made up story can't convey true emotion.
I'm sorry but I have to compare this to the original. It's a remake for Pete's sake. The CGI eye-candy of 2006 is more visually exciting than the special effects available in 1972. The scene where the ship capsizes is much more detailed and longer. Overall the horror of the action is a bit more in your face. This is not always for the better. I thought the scene where the little boy almost drowns, face to face but out of the reach of his mother, was a cheap shot.
Eric got the problem right. No character development. The relationships of the main characters don't evolve much, there are no deep connections made and no one even changes, beyond Dylan's turning hero. The cast doesn't help much. With the exception of Richard Dreyfuss and the little boy, the actors are all blandly attractive but forgettable. Kurt Russell is more wooden than normal.
There were moments when I was almost uncomfortable from the tension. So on that level the movie works. But unlike the original I don't think I will ever have the urge to watch it again. I've already forgotten the characters.
Photos © Copyright Warner Bros. (2006)