Movies / Home Theatre


By Al Kratina
Feb 13, 2007 - 21:00


2006, USA

Starring: Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Written by: Mark Protosevich, Paul Gallico (novel)

Produced by: Mike Fliess, Akiva Goldsman, Duncan Henderson, Wolfgang Petersen

Genres: Action, Drama

Release Date: May 12, 2006

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.

Distributors: Warner Brothers

Running Time: 99 minutes

Poseidon is nominated for Best Acheivement in Visual Effects in the 2007 Oscars.

I think movies like Poseidon are poorly made for a reason. Hollywood and cinema critics have a symbiotic relationship that is dependent on films like this to survive. The industry needs film critics to tell people they should like The Pursuit of Happyness despite all evidence to the contrary, and us critics need films like this so we can justify our journalistic integrity by writing punny headlines like " Poseidon a disaster", and " Poseidon doesn't float". It makes up for all the times we have to write "edge of your seat thriller". It’s a petty satisfaction, to be sure, but there's little joy in the life of a person who spends their time in darkened rooms that smell like rotting butter. Personally, I'm debating a headline that reads either "Poseidon hits rock bottom", or "Poseidon makes me want to choke on my own vomit while drowning in the ballast tanks of a sinking cruise ship".

As you may have gathered, Poseidon is a terrible movie. I expected as much, but I wasn't quite prepared for the depths to which this film sank (ha). Starring Josh Lucas and Kurt Russell, the film is a remake of the 1972 film The Poseidon Adventure, in which a luxury cruise ship is overturned by a rogue wave and a group of survivors use their magic powers to navigate from the bottom to the top, or what was once the top but is now the bottom to what is now the top but was once the bottom. I think. It's all very confusing, topsy-turvy, and rushed, which is as good of a description of Mark Protosevich's script as any. Seemingly hoping that momentum will carry the film over the obstacles logic and a cursory knowledge of physics put in its path, the movie is fast-paced and short. But it quickly becomes evident that despite its speed, Poseidon is also brain-damaged, like a toddler running into a wall for the third or fourth time in a row. Russell plays Robert Ramsey, an over-protective father who for some reason has brought his daughter and the boyfriend he doesn't like on a cruise with him, perhaps hoping that a fast-spreading Norwalk virus will rid him of the young man. Lucas is a professional gambler with an intensely detailed and infuriatingly unexplained knowledge of the ship, and together with Richard Dreyfuss and a bunch of expendable victims, the group try to save themselves from the doomed ship, and the sinking script (ha).

It's amazing how the human spirit can prevail in the most dire of circumstances, especially if things like fire and cold don't seem to bother you unless there's a plot point coming up. But all this is somewhat expected for a big summer action film. What's worse, however, is that the script occasionally musters up an interesting characterization, or a source of potential conflict that could add an additional layer to the film, but inevitably abandons it in favor of another shot of something blowing up underwater. Director Wolfgang Peterson moves without thinking, propelling the film forward even when sense and logic have abandoned ship (ha ha). The special effects are impressive, enough to warrant the Oscar nomination, but they don't manage to distract from the film's numerous failings. It's as if the filmmakers decided that the effects would be the film's sole distinguishing factor, and anything else would be dead weight, dragging it down to the ocean floor (ha, again). The look of the film is effective but familiar, the performances, even Dreyfuss', verge on pantomime, and the script is so empty and hollow, it should have helped the boat float. And no matter how petty and tired that last pun was, it still felt just as good as the first one.

Rating: 2 on 10

Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018 - 9:28

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