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Poseidon (2006)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
Director:
Wolfgang Petersen Wolfgang Petersen
Starring:
Josh Lucas Josh Lucas
Kurt Russell Kurt Russell
Jacinda Barrett Jacinda Barrett
Richard Dreyfuss Richard Dreyfuss
Emmy Rossum Emmy Rossum

5.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Action, Disaster Film, Sea Adventure, Weather
On New Year's Eve, the luxury ocean liner Poseidon capsizes after being swamped by a rogue wave. The survivors are left to fight for their lives as they attempt to escape the sinking ship. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 20, 2006
This was one remake that really never should have been attempted. When I first heard that director Wolfgang Petersen was remaking the classic "The Poseidon Adventure", I was filled with a deep and horrifying sense of dread. The film was perfect enough as it was. When I heard that Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss had stepped aboard, my dread turned to moderate excitement. They are two of my favorite actors and the thought of them sharing the screen together was a genuine thrill. However, that excitement turned back to fear when I learned that they would be joined by the Matthew McConaughey wannabe Josh Lucas and the talent-free Emmy Rossum. Regardless of this dread, I was still going to give it a chance - and I did. I sat through all two hours of this motion picture, watching everything I saw in the original amplified by about one hundred percent. This might have been most over-FXed movie of the year. It didn't need most of what was there. It would have been just as entertaining without all of the digitally animated ship sequences. But, Wolfgang Petersen has never been one to skimp on anything. "Poseidon" was okay, but nothing special.

The film centers around the ocean liner Poseidon that is struck by a rogue wave and turned upside down. One group of individuals think the safest thing to do is stay in the reception hall and wait on help to arrive. The other group, a much smaller one, is certain that they have to climb their way to the propeller shaft and crawl out that way to safety. Kurt Russell stars as Robert Ramsey, the former mayor of New York City, who co-leads the group alongside professional gambler Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas). Ramsey is desperate to find his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) and her fiancÚ Christian (Mike Vogel). Ramsey and Johns are joined by Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss), who is suicidal and distraught after his longtime boyfriend dumps him - he, however, regains his will to live awfully quick. Also along for the ride is Maggie James (Jacinda Barrett) and her son Conor (Jimmy Bennett) and a Hispanic stowaway (Mia Maestro). Together, they crawl and swim and jump their way from the reception hall to the propeller shaft, losing some folks along the way. By the end of the film, the people we didn't want to die have died, and the people we did want to die are still kicking.

The enemy in "Poseidon" is time. These people do not have the time they need to get to where they need to go. Just when they think they have made a smart move, here comes the water or here comes the flash fires or here comes a door that won't open. It is as if this ship was constructed to prevent these people from finding a way out. One sequence involves these men and women holding their breaths for an extended period of time, consistently. It might just be me, but these people seem to have stronger lungs than David Blaine, and they didn't stay submerged for days leading up to the swim. I cannot grasp Richard Dreyfuss being able to hold his breath this long without being chased by a vicious great white shark. Richard Dreyfuss also gives us one of the most sensible lines in the entire film, "These ships weren't designed to stay afloat upside down". Good point, Richard. Then why is it? I know it took them more than two hours to reach the propeller shaft. How did the ship manage to stay turned upside down that long without sinking. They give us a crude explanation with the whole 'tank' theory, but that makes about as much sense as the rest of the plot of the film.

All that said, all of those inconsistencies worked in the original. Why? Because the cast made them work. The original film was not so much concerned with the special effects sequences as it was the characters and their stories. Shelley Winters was the highlight of the original film, and no one in the remake comes closes to her charisma and warmth and talent. Gene Hackman was so commanding in the original and so intense. Josh Lucas is no Gene Hackman. The best parts of the remake were the two actors I looked forward to seeing all along - Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss. Russell, especially, really delivered and gave us one of the best scenes of the film, when he goes down to try and turn off the propeller. Mike Vogel also played a pretty important part in the film, and it is now official that he is one of the ten sexiest men on the face of the planet. Wow. That is a whole lot of hot, and he does a very good job with his role. He's definitely an up and comer in Hollywood. The supporting characters - Andre Braugher, Jacinda Barrett, Kevin Dillon - were sufficient, I suppose, but they usually just got on my nerves. I was happy when a couple of them died.

If you're looking for the better choice, go and purchase the new special edition of the original "The Poseidon Adventure". The performances are stronger, the story is better, and then whole thing just feels a lot more coherent. Shelley Winters and Gene Hackman and Red Buttons and Jack Albertson and Ernest Borgnine are all worth it. Josh Lucas and Emmy Rossum and Jacinda Barrett and Jimmy Bennett are not. "Poseidon" has the look and feel of a Wolfgang Petersen epic, but it lacks depth and it lacks plausibility. "The Perfect Storm" worked because it had a human element to it, just like the original "The Poseidon Adventure". This picture lacks that human element and tries to compensate with special effects it doesn't need and supporting characters that do nothing but irritate the senses, here's looking at you Kevin Dillon. "Poseidon" sank before it ever sailed.

5/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 10/24/2007, 11:46 PM
Why, why, why remake a good film? The Poseidon Adventure is one of the best movies of the 70's, and then they have to muck it up with this piece of shit. You can't have this movie without Ernest Borgnine. You just can't. 1/10
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