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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.85%
Worth A Look37.5%
Average: 34.62%
Pretty Bad: 17.31%
Total Crap: 6.73%

10 reviews, 44 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Streamlined, mindless, fast-paced disaster-flick craziness."
4 stars

"Poseidon" is a mega-streamlined, lightning-quick, no-muss no fuss sort of remake, one that hopes to land an audience thanks to name (and premise) recognition while also being careful to not "copycat" its predecessor too shamelessly. And the result is precisely as you'd expect: a fast-paced and enjoyably mindless escape thriller that replaces memorable characters with CGI explosions and doesn't slow down until the end credits.

Back when the disaster flicks were the newest craze, the producers (almost invariably Irwin Allen) had two things to sell their movies on: big, expensive spectacle and huge, colorful, all-star casts. The reason there was so much cornball character development and overripe speechifying in the older disaster flicks is a simple one: Each performer wanted their fair shot at an Oscar nomination.

There are no such aspirations to be found in the new-fangled Poseidon, which kicks in with the high-end mayhem less than 19 minutes after the movie begins. If the goal was to jettison all the painfully prosaic back-stories and the yawn-inducing "eventual victim development" found within all the old-fashioned disaster epics, then Poseidon director Wolfgang Petersen has done a fine job here. The remake really does feel like a 98-minute action sequence, with each death-laden set-piece firmly gridlocked together. Frankly there's an enjoyably tense sense of urgency to Poseidon that the original Poseidon Adventure didn't have.

This ship is sinking fast -- and it's not about to hold off for a few minutes so someone can deliver a mega-weepy anguish-speech about Jewish grandkids in Israel or the role that God plays within a capsized ocean liner. (Old-school disaster flicks are notorious for their over-bloated dialogue volleys and sadly under-written melodrama. Try sitting through the first hour of Earthquake to understand what Petersen and screenwriter Mark Protosevich are trying to avoid in Poseidon.)

Nope, all the emotional baggage is promptly tossed overboard once the Poseidon tips over, which some will see as callous and soulless ... while others will choose to see Petersen's remake as a big-budget horror flick; an upside-down nightmare in which you care about who lives considerably less than you care about who's going to die next. And taken as a gritty, dangerous, semi-unpredictable survival thriller, Poseidon works well enough ... provided you don't think about it too closely. (The last 45 seconds of the movie are particularly moronic, but I won't go into the specifics.) It's full bore "popcorn material" through and through, but it's well-crafted silliness all the same. No stranger to waterlogged lunacy, Petersen (who also directed Das Boot and The Perfect Storm) keeps the dangers dire, the fires ferocious, and the ocean in violent motion. And just when one character starts doling out too many syllabales, another explosion kicks off yet another frenzied set-piece.

Cruise liner flips over; people try to escape. Period. If you need more of a plot synopsis than that, I'd highly recommend you give the original Poseidon Adventure a fresh rental; it sure isn't brain surgery, but it is a lot of white-knuckle fun. This time around our survivors include a former fireman / former mayor (Kurt Russell), an outrageously obnoxious lounge lizard (Kevin Dillon), a doe-eyed pair of gorgeous young lovers (Mike Vogel & Emmy Rossum), a suicidal old gay guy (Richard Dreyfuss), a young mother and son (Jacinda Barrett & Jimmy Bennett), an unlucky waiter (Freddy Rodriguez), a comely stowaway (Mia Maestro), and a grizzled ex-Navy man (Josh Lucas) who ends up saving the day. We're given just enough character development to give everyone a brush-stroke and then, flip, we're off. And for all its narrative road-blocks, pot-holes, and speed-bumps, when Poseidon sticks to its checklist of tightly-conjoined action scenes, it's a pretty enjoyable affair.

So what Petersen loses in depth of character and emotional investment, he seems more than happy to make up for in tension, claustrophobia, and the omnipresent sense of sudden death. That we don't get to "know" these characters is not all that important; they're human enough to make us hope they survive, and they're certainly human enough to make the death scenes dark and memorable ... for the most part, anyway.

While one could call both Poseidon adventures "guilty pleasures," I'd happily stick with the original film's semi-meandering pace and day-glo character development over the remake's "shake & bake" pacing and high-speed presentation. They're both fun flicks, though, and I suspect they'd make for a pretty entertaining double feature ... provided you can live without the use of your brain for four consecutive hours.

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originally posted: 05/12/06 05:21:55
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell exciting with good effects 4 stars
7/29/11 Bob Dog A great b-movie - best disaster movie I've seen in years! 5 stars
5/18/11 Ravenmad I wouldn't want to die like this, but almost did watching this film. 2 stars
11/23/09 Jeff Wilder Story's predictable, no real suspense and we don't care about the characters. 2 stars
11/03/09 Darryl Great sp. effects, stars & fast-paced! Dreyfuss miscast, Cary Elwes wouldve been perfect. 4 stars
8/14/09 Dan better than you've heard, if still imperfect 3 stars
3/26/09 Eric Much better than I thought it'd be - avoid comparing to original and judge on its own merit 4 stars
2/11/09 Stewart Worst movie I have ever seen! No story or characters, just special effects and bad acting. 1 stars
1/16/09 Shaun Wallner Very Interesting 4 stars
1/15/08 JM Synth Generic with paper thin characters, but great action and suspense 4 stars
1/12/08 Brian Mckay Better than Titanic - at least you don't have to sit through bullshit love story first. 4 stars
10/02/07 Rick Excellent action, but weak character development. Still, awesome f/x make it worth seeing. 4 stars
7/14/07 Vincent Ebriega Great effects, set design and action, but, like the Poseidon, sinks too quickly. 3/5. 3 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK To sum it up, Battlefield Earth was better. 1 stars
2/28/07 Stanley Thai This film doesn't need character developement and has very good action scenes. 4 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega This remake is great to watch. 4 stars
1/23/07 Matt Lame,rushed,tooshort-and this time we don't give a shit who lives or dies. 2 stars
10/16/06 Mystique This movie really sucks; it's terribly clich. You're better off renting "Titanic". 1 stars
10/13/06 Indrid Cold Suitably white-knuckle update of the original. 3 stars
10/07/06 Rhonda Heaslip In my opinion it was an awesome movie that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved it! 5 stars
9/27/06 Anthony Feor I wish i had saw the origional before this, however it comes quite close to it 4 stars
9/03/06 Dragon The Artist A pretty good, ownable rehash of The Posiedon Adventure 4 stars
9/02/06 Danny Even without compairing it to 1972 classic, still merely average and pretty forgettable. 3 stars
8/29/06 David Hasslehof Not enough substance - could have been Titanic set in the modern era - Godzilla anyone? 3 stars
8/24/06 action movie fan sometimes exciting but seen it all before--ship is the only thing new 3 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant It feels longer than 'Titanic', and is a collosal piece of ass. Hated every frame. 1 stars
7/24/06 malcolm thrilling but ultimately forgettable 3 stars
6/05/06 Jon With excellent suspense and action Poseidon makes the already good old one perfect! 5 stars
6/03/06 MickOZ Are you over 14? If so you have seen this type of shite countless times. 2 stars
6/03/06 MP Bartley Fun for the moment but entirely forgettable. Wavers between average and worth a look. 3 stars
5/29/06 inty speed 2 was better 1 stars
5/24/06 Navi this movie just plain sucks. Maybe add a few details about characters, and make an ending. 2 stars
5/22/06 Jeff Anderson Waterlogged to say the least & cruel. Cast & effects are far better than film deserves! 2 stars
5/19/06 Staci Typical blockbuster filled with thrills and chills galore. 4 stars
5/19/06 Mase Quick and painless, if you are looking for great visuals and no depth...enjoy 3 stars
5/18/06 michael not too bad and close to the first if they would just think up some new ideas 4 stars
5/18/06 Gavin Bamber If you've seen Titanic, you've seen it already 3 stars
5/18/06 JOHN PETERSON When I saw this about 29 years ago, it was mediocre at best. This tiime special effects is 3 stars
5/17/06 Astro Boye THis movie Sucked- Homopphobia and racial bias sink this ship! 1 stars
5/16/06 pipe 10 minutes of decent special effects and 1-1/2 hours of mind-numbing plot and dialog. Glug 1 stars
5/14/06 Ron Green The special effects were great! It makes the original poseidon look like a sailboat! 4 stars
5/13/06 Captain Highcrime Moved so fast...Wolfgang must have been double-parked outside the post house. 4 stars
5/13/06 Mike C. Finally a movie that lived up to its preview. It kicked ass! Very intense! 5 stars
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  12-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Aug-2006



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