Poseidon (2006)

Poseidon (2006)

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"We have to save the guy who was in Jaws!"
“We have to save the guy who was in Jaws!”

Twitter Plot Summary: The expensive cruise ship disaster movie gets a remake, this time with added Kurt Russell.

What’s the one thing we were all crying out for in 2006? Apparently, it was a remake of 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, shortened here to simply Poseidon because people these days have the attention span of a gnat. That aside, you can’t go wrong with a half decent disaster movie now and again. That may be where Poseidon falls flat (rather than upside down) because it never feels like anything more than a standard remake, a story that has been told before and, arguably, told better.

Much like the original, the audience is required to suspend their disbelief to near impossible levels in order to accept the possibility of a cruise ship being tipped over in such a manner. A freak wave hits the cruise liner Poseidon, tipping it upside down. The captain wants to keep everyone in one room – one with glass windows that you know aren’t going to hold for long. Meanwhile a smaller group of survivors, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Josh Lucas and Emmy Rossum amongst them, decide to ignore the captain and head off into the ship, where danger and CGI effects await.

Wolfgang Petersen is probably the best person to tackle this project given his previous affiliation with water-based movies (you know, that one about the German U-Boat and The Perfect Storm). He’s also a dab hand at big budget affairs too, having tackled the likes of The Neverending Story, Troy and Air Force One in his all too brief stint of directing Hollywood movies.

Time to play a game of "guess who's going to die."
Time to play a game of “guess who’s going to die.”

While Poseidon has its budget and named actors going for it, there are still concerns about the plot itself. We’re barely given 10 minutes to be introduced to all of the characters before the wave hits,but at least the action rarely lets up from that point forwards, a constantly increasing escalation of events as that small group of survivors try to reach the new top of the boat and escape to safety. All the while they have to contend with the fact the water is constantly nipping at their heels and there’s no guarantee that they’ll survive.

Of course, if you’re going to remake a disaster film from the 1970s, it might help if you did things a little differently with the story. It’s almost a beat for beat remake, but with enhanced special effects and a more modern look to it. Because let’s face it, The Poseidon Adventure looks a bit dated these days. At least in this respect Poseidon does an admirable job. The visual effects are impressive, although a few moments including an oil spill and the ship’s MASSIVE propellers look slightly suspect.

It struggles further in defining the character relationships, although this may have been a result of cuts in the editing suite rather than anything that was left out of the shooting script. As it is, it runs at a lean 95 minutes and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Suffice to say, if you enjoy the thought of Kurt Russell berating his young daughter for wearing tops that are too low and not doing much else, you’ll be in your element.

Score: 3/5

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