Poseidon (2006)

Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum, Josh Lucas
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 survival as they attempt to escape the sinking ship.
This remake of The Poseidon Adventure delivers dazzling special effects. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that any of the budget was left over to devote to the script.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 12 May 2006 Released:
  • 22 Aug 2006 DVD Release:
  • $60.7M Box office:

Trailer:

Apparently $160 million doesn't buy a good script4/10
I attended an IMAX screening with a group of friends and family on opening day. Some of us are fans of the original. At least one had seen neither the original nor the Hallmark miniseries. One thing became clear early on in this film: a sky-high budget isn't worth a bucket of seawater if the characters aren't interesting or involving.

On New Year's Eve, the ocean liner, Poseidon, is capsized by an enormous rogue wave that appears without warning. Seems all the sophisticated equipment on the bridge doesn't include reliable radar targeting; rather, the wall of water is detected Carnac-style by a bridge officer, and then spotted by a depressed passenger inches away from taking his life by jumping overboard (the audience laughed out loud during the former instance). What follows is the life-and-death struggle of a handful of wealthy Caucasian, er, I mean, assorted passengers through the fiery, waterlogged bowels of the overturned ship, as they attempt to reach and escape through one of the bow thrusters. Who are these people? I couldn't tell you, because at least one person in our group fell asleep during the film, and afterwards, the rest of us could barely remember any of the leads' names or back stories. We learn nothing about the central characters by the end of the film that we didn't already know or sense in the opening introductions. Storytelling is dead in Hollywood.

The Poseidon Adventure, starring Gene Hackman, is still loved by many decades after its release, because the creative forces behind that project breathed life into the characters and crafted a solid film. Wolfgang Petersen's re-imaging, Poseidon, will be forgotten faster than yesterday's breakfast buffet aboard the Pacific Princess, for exactly the opposite reason. It's yet another exercise in CGI gimmickry and a hollow voyage to nowhere.
Another remake misfires4/10
It all starts off so well too. The opening shot of Wolfgang Petersen's Poseidon is beautiful. A single take that begins beneath the surface of the ocean that swings up and out of it as the underside of the ship slices through the waves, before pivoting round the colossal cruise liner and zeroing in on Josh Lucas running on the deck. With the sun setting in the distance and the immense size of the vessel itself contrasted with the deep blue of the water, this is a visually astounding entrance to a movie that is unfortunately very shallow indeed.

A remake of the classic disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure, this tells much the same story with a small group of passengers trying to escape a doomed ocean liner after it capsizes due to a freak wave. Given the beloved status of the original, besting it was going to be tricky from the start so how to do it? Bestow the characters with as much depth and humanity as possible, arrange it so that you don't want any of them to die just as the original film did? No. That isn't the 21st Century Studio Approach to blockbusters at all, the trick is explosions! Lots of explosions! And dangerous stunts that happen in very quick succession with no set up whatsoever.

As a result, things happen very quickly. We've hardly got to know anyone on the ship before the wave strikes and sends their world tumbling upside down in a hail of glass and debris. Trapped beneath the waves, there is no debate on the best means of survival but instead a bull headed rush to escape as soon as possible and before you know it, barely any time has elapsed before we have our luckless nobodies dangling from lift shafts, diving through burning oil slicks or scrambling up air vents rapidly filling with water. This could all be very entertaining if it wasn't so empty and if only they'd eased back on the throttle a little bit, we could have had a much more successful film.

Kurt Russell for instance is wasted. As an ex firefighter and former Mayor of New York with a failed marriage behind him, they could have crafted the image of a troubled man going through a midlife crisis who finds himself tested beyond his limits. Instead, the only hints at any characterisation are him protesting his daughter's cleavage bearing dress to leave no doubt that theirs is a strained relationship. Then there is Richard Dreyfuss (who has finally found a bigger boat), whose character might as well be listed in the credits as "depressed, elderly gay man." Everyone else is just as vacuous and while Josh Lucas is certainly a charismatic focal point, it cannot make up for the two dimensional stereotypes of Kevin Dillon's gambler Lucky Larry or Mike Vogel's performance as Christian, the fiancee of Russell's daughter who manages to put in perhaps the worst attempt at acting you will see in a blockbuster this year.

It does have a few commendable points though. One death scene involving a lift shaft, jagged metal spikes and an explosion is an adrenaline pumping crowd pleaser and the aforementioned scramble through the flooding ventilation shaft is really quite tense, the ensemble cast squeezed together in a claustrophobic nightmare as the water bubbles up around them. Ultimately though, it is not enough to save it. Poseidon may make for a diverting hour and a half but Hollywood needs to learn a valuable lesson about plotting: bigger explosions and insane stunts are nowhere near as impressive if we don't care about the people involved. The original version made an entire generation terrified of getting on a boat with Ernest Borgnine, this is just laughable.
A 'Bad' movie can still be fun to watch6/10
Especially one that sinks Titanic in special effects...

This is a remake of The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Before you jump on the bandwagon and start bashing it on this basis alone, keep it mind that the original film was not exactly a masterpiece. It was a film that sacrificed scientific reality to propel an inane plot, filled with one-dimensional characters and compensated for it with action-overload. Poseidon is exactly the same -- ridiculous plot, intrepid characters and big slice of adventure. What is different in this version is the masterful CGI. This is a perfect time to remake a film like this (much better than in 1972) -- just go overboard with special effects and no one will notice the flawed writing (which is basically a sketchbook mess).

This is the reason Poseidon does not fail in entertaining the audience. I'll admit that I was skeptical when Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas appeared in all her plastic surgery glory and Josh Lucas spouted out some cheeseball line ("Where is the disco?" "Why, you feel like dancing now?"), but I set its cringeworthy dialogue aside early on and focused my energy on not wanting to kill Fergie. The giant tidal wave capsizing the luxury liner Poseidon would take care of that, leaving only a small group of people fighting to reach the top and get out.

Another thing, besides special effects, that is by far better in this version is that the characters are actually interested in surviving and do not stop every few minutes for a petty argument as in The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Make no mistake however, these characters are still dumb to the core, getting by on lucky circumstances, occasional heroic feats and conveniently appearing objects and hatches – you've seen it all before, but damn, this is sensationally quality action.

Overall, Poseidon is bathed in a militantly hectic mood and is as fast-paced as any action film you'll see. It features mind-numbing special effects, overdoses of excitement and just typical Wolfgang Peterson overkill. It definitely won't disappoint you if you're looking for cheap but solid adrenaline kicks. I'd even happily sit through this experience again.

6.5/10
This ship has sailed ... and sunk ...2/10
In the original POSEIDON ADVENTURE, the venerable SS Poseidon was on its last voyage, even before it had a wave of bad luck. Headed to port to be turned to scrap, the aging luxury liner was comfortably aged and loaded down with a bunch of amiable B-list movie stars playing rather endearingly ordinary people. POSEIDON, the remake, is apparently far from being on its last leg; sparkling new and lavishly decorated in nondescript, tasteless elegance, it is carrying a passenger list of dubious VIPs, who don't even have enough dimension to be cliches and are played by actors, who, though competent, would barely even rate being on the B-list.

But it does seem to have a healthy cargo of things that blow up. Indeed, it seems that more of the unfortunate victims of this seagoing disaster meet fiery deaths than watery ones -- explosions being far more photogenic than the inability to hold ones breath for very long.

POSEIDON the new movie is very much like Poseidon the new ship: cold, efficient, impersonal and doomed to sink like a rock. The most remarkable thing about this SS Poseidon is that it has a huge bridge full of technicians and flashing electronic gizmos, yet the 150-foot tidal wave that flips the boat sneaks up on everyone without warning. Apparently the wave spotting equipment they use is from the same company that created iceberg detecting equipment for the Titanic. Indeed, the first person to spot the tidal wave is a passenger played by a strangely subdued Richard Dreyfuss, whose impromptu suicide attempt is rudely interrupted.

The movie itself is pretty much an empty vessel, though it is certainly a product of its time. Trivial concerns such as story and character are jettisoned in favor of elaborate and expensive sets and CGI special effects. Indeed, the imagery of the new POSEIDON is most impressive and outshines the then-cutting edge productions values of the 1972 original. Yet, it isn't nearly as effective in any regard. The original film had its ragtag band of survivalists interacting with their topsy-turvy environment, where this time the stunts and sets and CGI simply overwhelm everything and everybody. Like so many CGI blockbusters, human interaction is merely a bothersome detail; the real focus being on the violent extermination of masses of nameless, faceless victims. And once again, Hollywood has mistaken technological gimmickry for storytelling skill.

When the film does try to escape from tired predictability it bites off far more than it can chew. At one point a main character is compelled to kill another character in order to save himself, yet this intense and perverse moment early in the film is never dealt with again. The surviving character must neither redeem himself or face karmic punishment for his act. The secondary character is just killed and forgotten -- presumably because the character and the actor playing the part weren't important enough to care about. After that, it is hard to care about the fate of anyone else. The film has no sense of humanity, let alone a sense of humor about the absurdity of the entire premise.

The cast, not unduly burdened with characters to play or chances to actually act, run the obstacle course with dogged professionalism. Kurt Russell is no Gene Hackman, but he is in the unfortunate position of being too good of an actor for this type of film, yet not big enough of a star to actually carry it. Young Jimmy Bennet is perfectly convincing as a terrified child and Josh Lucas has an impressive underbite perfectly suited for jutting out his chin in fierce determination. Other than that, the cast is unremarkable, sadly lacking even any Carol Lynleys or Pamela Sue Martins, let alone such wonderfully hammy pros like Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Ernest Borgnine or the inimitable Shelley Winters. None of the characters/actors stand out enough to be sympathetic, endearing or even memorable. Indeed, the three female leads -- Jacinda Barrett, Emmy Rossum and Mia Maestro -- are so interchangeable that it is hard to tell their characters apart.

I suppose that the filmmakers wanted this to be like the remake of KING KONG, an eye-popping, special effects reinvention of a well-worn story. But, instead, POSEIDON ends up being like the woefully unnecessary remake of PSYCHO: there was no need, demand or purpose for this film to exist and the filmmakers reveal they have no apparent clue as to why the original is loved in the first place. That's what happens when you set sail without a compass; you just get lost at sea.
PLEASE PRAY FOR Hollywood3/10
Hollywood you better get your act together. Thanks you for spitting out another INSTANTLY forgettable "Blockbuster" Thank God I only paid $4 dollars to see this. Not only can't the Studios come up with original material. The material they remake is worse than the original. If this crap keeps up you will have even less of an audience. A good cast given nothing to chew on and a Director who has made great films and this is what we get? 150 million and the Ballroom set in the original was more impressive?

Video games are so prevalent in society that I fear their mind numbing influence is starting to permeate even NON video game derived movies. The original movie was a good solid, involving movie. This remake takes every element of the original and removes what made it involving. I mean EVERY element. There are people out there making these decisions!! And they are paid huge sums to make these decisions! With the talent in front of and behind the camera this is truly frightening as this seems to be the norm at the present.

Right from the start there is almost NO set up. We don't know where the ship is, where it is sailing, even what ocean it's on! Things that actually would create some atmosphere like the originals speech by the Captain explaining the origin of Poseidon. Greek God of the Sea. They are sailing on the Mediterranean, to Greece? Get it? Cheesy but involving. You know it gives the proceedings some gravatis, some mystery. In the remake we get nothing, we are are in Video game land, we don't have time for such things.

Even the cause for the disaster has absolutely no set up. Happy new year, bang, the tidal wave hits. Unlike the originals slow build up, as it explained WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND WHY! Even the effects in the original worked better. They were simpler but executed as a whole created more of an impact because of the tension that was built up. Again a sense of gravity, HUMAN INVOLVEMENT and Atmosphere! Even in the original, Leslie Nielsen's corny grimace as the wave engulfs the ship. It's goofy but you REMEMBER IT. You know a character we identify with reacting to the impending disaster. It's a very basic cinematic technique. But I guess todays more "sophisticated" audience don't need this kind of thing anymore.

There is no human involvement in the wave hitting in this remake. The Captain isn't called to the bridge, no build up, just some crew members we've had no contact with running around. Absolutely unmemorable. The effects are impressive but who cares, I'm not given anything to latch on to.

Straight across the board EVERY situation is diminished from the original. The scene chewing conflict between Gene Hackaman and Ernest Borgnine is totally lost in the remake. There is NO conflict with the characters. NONE! It's just one disaster to overcome to the next. You know , like a VIDEO GAME.

Even the self sacrificing Shelly Winters death swim has almost no emotional impact because the character doesn't return and die in front of everybody. Like DUH! Hey screen writers perhaps you should learn of something called ELEMENTS OF DRAMA!! Even if you have no talent you could at least COPY the original, not make it worse! Absolutely mind boggling!! If you WANTED to sabotage the original you couldn't have done a better job. UNREAL! All you film lovers just keep repeating "Things will get better" Repeat it like a prayer.