That Sinking Feeling
- Poseidon review by JS
Director Wolfgang Peterson seems to be in such a terrible hurry with Poseidon - everything moves at such a fast pace that the characters - and the viewers - rarely have enough time to stop for a mouthful of air. And while the movie campy fun and as suspenseful as the original 1972 Poseidon Adventure, the film is certainly short and most definitely to the point. However, you really have to suspend disbelief at much of what you see transpiring.
In this remake you see lots of extras die as their world is turned upside down one New Year's Eve, with little warning once the "rogue wave" is sighted and heads towards the doomed luxury liner. Overcome by flooding, shorting electricity and baked by flash fires, the expendable masses yield with barely more than a shocked glimpse, hands clapped over mouths and last-minute hugs with total strangers.
As the Disco and swimming pool, galleys and grand suites and of course the grand ballroom go belly-up, there's the bunch of heroic characters that defy the Captain and decide to head-onward and upward through the waterlogged, overturned ship in feats that call for a deep-sea suspension of disbelief, but no matter, because the delectable Josh Lucas leads this eclectic, mismatched gang, and wouldn't you follow him!
Alas, there's no Shelly Winters-like character in this version. The protagonists all come across, as rather nameless and faceless, blandness is the order of the day here. Kurt Russell plays a devoted father, and the ex-Mayor of New York Richard Dreyfuss is lamenting being dumped by his boyfriend, Josh Lucas is a gambler and I think a fireman - which is why of course he knows the workings of the luxury liner backwards.
Emmy Rossum, Jacinda Barrett, Mia Maestro, Mike Vogel and Kevin Dillon round at the crowd. And they all have remarkably strong lung capacity, considering how long they have to spend underwater! But it doesn't really matter who's who, or who will sink or swim because once the ship flips, character development isn't high on the list of this movie's agenda.
Obviously the special effects are what it's all about and there's tons and tons of rushing water, exploding electrical circuits, people caught in air-conditioning shafts and being burnt to death by sudden fires - it's all big and loud and contains some expert stunt work and superb integration of digital technology.
The direction is mostly crisp and although it all gets a bit repetitious towards the end - it also becomes hard to figure out what is going on - the film mostly works because it steps up its dramatic speed early on, and its pacing never falters. Mike Leonard August 06.
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