ANDREW CLARKE This remake of the 1975 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure is a very spectacular looking affair. It takes all the technical know-how that went into the creation of Titanic and has raised the bar by several degrees.
This remake of the 1975 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure is a very spectacular looking affair. It takes all the technical know-how that went into the creation of Titanic and has raised the bar by several degrees.
Visually you can't fault it but therein lies the problem… Poseidon is a tremendous spectacle but as an audience you feel absolutely nothing.
It's like a firework display: colourful, noisy but ultimately empty.
You get to know virtually nothing about any of the people on the ship. Even though there are several back stories hinted at, they are annoyingly kept well out of the way of the story.
Director Wolfgang Petersen is well able to mix tense, waterborne drama with character drama as his success with the U-boat saga Das Boot (The Boat) showed, so I am presuming that studio interference in the editing room willl have robbed the movie of a substantial character-driven sub-plot which would have made the audience care much more about the people trapped on this doomed vessel.
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As it is what we get is more and more special effects piled on top of one another, more and more dangerous situations for our heroes to overcome - which would be terrific if we actually cared about the people populating the film.
We only care if we get to learn to identify with them - if we care about them.
Early on in the film we learn that Kurt Russell is a former fireman and a former mayor of New York.
During a poker game in the ship's casino we learn that he and professional gambler Kevin Dillon have some sort of history and there is no love lost between them. This animosity shows itself when the pair are forced to co-operate in order to get out of the ship alive.
What this problem was we are not informed.
Kurt Russell's sullen hero also has a problem with his daughter, played by Emmy Russom, dating a seemingly inoffensive young man, so there are some trust issues to be dealt with but again these are hinted at but never explained or explored.
Like any disaster movie the situations get more desperate and ridiculous as the movie progresses but they don't get any dafter than the scene where Emmy's fiancé is trapped beneath a large girder in the ship's disco and when he is freed is seen to have a very deep and bloody gash to his half-crushed leg. Then in no more than five minutes he is seen scrambling over a makeshift rope ladder across a chasm, looking as good as new, in order to escape the rising waters.
No mention is made of his injured leg again.
The film is full of inconsistencies like this. It also follows the age-old tradition of having lots of people in the film so we never know who is going to get drowned, burned or electrocuted next.
Richard Dreyfuss provides the best value for money as a gay businessman who is spending his first new year apart from his long-term partner who has found someone else.
The film is set on a vast cruise liner in the Caribbean.
On board everyone is celebrating New Year as a vast tsunami strikes and flips the boat over.
Most of the passengers and crew die instantly but there is a group that survive in the ballroom and disco.
An even smaller group led by card sharp Josh Lucas and Kurt Russell decide not to wait to be rescued and head for freedom but the journey is more difficult than they had bargained for.
It's not a bad idea to remake The Poseidon Adventure - certainly the special effects are more than up to the task now but they have ignored the human element and as a result this is a film with no heart and no soul and therefore no real interest. Disappointing.