Written by Mark Protosevich
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Running Time: 1:40
for intense prolonged sequences
of disaster and peril.
Poseidon was a typical disaster film with the usual cast of characters and nothing new to offer.
A bunch of people are on a cruise ship when it gets hit by a rogue wave and flips over. Some die immediately, while others are trapped in a 'secure' ballroom. But one man knows it won't last, and he leads a group of adventurers through the ship to try and get to the bottom (which is now the top) of the ship and into the water where they can be rescued. Who will live? Who will die? Does it really matter?
Forgetting for a moment that this is a remake, Poseidon had nothing new to offer to the genre of disaster flick. Once you realize that, you can sort of sit back and enjoy the movie, but then again, not really. OK, so a bunch of people are trapped on a ship and some of the more recognizable faces are the ones that are going to try and get out alive. I can accept that. And it's on a large cruise ship, so there are going to be a lot of places for them to go, a lot of places disaster can happen, and a lot of water. OK so far. But how about giving me characters I can care about? At least make me feel sad when one of them dies. All I kept hoping was that the little kid would get killed off. How can you have a kid who knows what kind of danger they're in, disappear suddenly? Where is the logic in that? The kid isn't stupid, and yet at one point, while everyone is sitting around wondering what to do next, he just wanders off and almost gets himself and two others killed, including his hot mom. And he cried a lot. Granted, he was in a stressful situation, but he annoyed me.
The rest of the cast wasn't much better. You had the gung ho good looking guy, the older guy who used to have glory, his hot daughter and her fiance, the hot single mom and for good measure, an old gay guy who wanted to kill himself and yet was willing to kill someone else to save his own life. Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum, Mike Vogel, Jacinda Barrett and Richard Dreyfuss fill those roles. Some of them are fine actors, but when thrown into characters who have nothing to offer, you start to not really care if they live or die. In fact, this is a good movie to play the old game 'Who's gonna die, and in what order?' I usually like to play the game when watching horror films, but it works somewhat well here. Once you spend the first 10 minutes getting introduced to the characters (and kudos to the filmmakers for not dragging out the opening) you know who will survive the first hit and then you can start playing the game. Unfortunately in this movie, the game is a little too easy to play. There were no real surprises, although I will admit, the scene with Dreyfuss in the elevator shaft was shocking. But at the same time, it was probably the most realistic scene in the entire film. It always makes me laugh when you watch these films. Here you are on a ship with thousands of people, 99.9% of whom die, yet we're all happy for the ones that survive. And somehow the people that try and escape are good looking and in good shape, and can do things they could never imagine before.
The special effects were decent enough. The opening with Lucas running around the ship looked horribly fake, but once you get inside and things are exploding and water is going everywhere, it looked good. But it wasn't enough. As an audience, we've seen these kinds of movies over and over again. There's a certain baseline we accept, but in order to make us really enjoy the movie, you have to raise the bar. I think the filmmakers felt that all they needed to hit was the bar, and we'd happily pay to see the movie over and over. But we want more. Give us characters we can really care about, and don't throw in random lines to force us to care. The old guy and his daughter had a rocky relationship. How do we know that? Because the very first time we see them, they yell and she stomps off. And then at one point she says to a random stranger that growing up as the daughter of the New York City mayor wasn't cool. Am I now supposed to feel sorry for her? And the older gay guy who was dumped before the trip and wanted to kill himself? Again, we find all that out in the opening few seconds and now I'm supposed to care about him? Why? Because he's Richard Dreyfuss? I would have almost rather not had any connection to these people and turn the film into a cheesy so-bad-its-good type of film, rather than be forced to care about anyone. But if you're going to give me characters, I would suggest focusing in on a couple and really giving me a story, rather than throwing a dozen characters at me and telling me a few snippets of their lives. At least they gave us one character, Elena, who freaked out when having to get into a seriously claustrophobic situation. More realism like that would have helped. Stop making random people into superheroes, and have them be real people reacting like a regular human being.
The DVD doesn't have deleted scenes or a gag reel. Those are the two things I really like to see, although I guess I can understand why a movie like this might not have that. I don't understand however why it's a 2-disc set, when the second disc only has 3 extras. Could they not have put it all onto one DVD, or is this just a way of making it sound better? The extras are even slimmer on the first disc, so I'm guessing this is all a big marketing ploy. The extras are interesting - mostly documentaries and such. Not my cup of tea, but some people like that kind of thing. Oh, and there are no commentaries either.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, Poseidon may not have been as bad as I make it out to be, but it also wasn't a great film. It was just an average special effects bonanza that didn't offer anything new.
Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home – Now from only a month!