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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.81%
Worth A Look37.14%
Average: 34.29%
Pretty Bad: 18.1%
Total Crap: 6.67%

10 reviews, 45 user ratings

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by brianorndorf

"Mayhem done very well, dialog less so"
4 stars

While stuck in the spin cycle of remake cinema, “Poseidon” does manage to top its predecessor with an armada of special effects and stunts. The film is short, to the point, and action packed, but the filmmakers also want to jam in as much character development as they can with almost no time to spare. The result is a film that overwhelms the eye, but curdles the blood whenever a character starts to recall their life story.

It's New Year's Eve on the enormous cruise ship "Poseidon," and the guests are in the midst of a lavish celebration; however, catastrophe strikes when an immense rogue wave crashes into the ship, overturning it, and sending hundreds of passengers to their doom as glass shatters, decks explode, and flooding water begins to drag the ship to the ocean floor. Deciding they want to try and escape the sinking ship, a small group of passengers (including Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, and Jacinda Barrett) attempt to make their way to safety, finding only impenetrable obstacles in their way as death seeps in from all sides.

1972's "Poseidon Adventure" has nestled itself warmly in the bosom of nostalgia. The film hasn't aged particularly well, but it epitomizes a neat little spark of old fashioned Hollywood pageantry, and is generally accepted as the picture that kicked off the disaster film genre stampede of the 1970s. The only logical reason to try and tell this story again would be if a filmmaker came armed to the teeth with the latest in special effects to better demonstrate the awesome sight of a cruise ship violently turned upside down.

Director Wolfgang Petersen looks to be the right man for the job, having already crafted two water-based thrillers: the 1981 submarine classic "Das Boot," and the blockbuster, "The Perfect Storm." Petersen is an exceptionally skilled visual filmmaker, and "Poseidon" leaves ample room for the director to plan out scene after scene of elaborate demolition and mass death on an extraordinarily mammoth level, making the original film look about a complex as a toy boat in a dirty bathtub. "Poseidon" benefits wildly from the technological advances in computer imagery and stuntwork. While it doesn't share the carefully designed, respectfully paced chaos of the 1972 film, it exceeds it with utter mayhem and eye-popping moments of destruction.

Petersen captures the horror of "Poseidon" with a concentration on panic and claustrophobia, adding a whole new level of tension to the story by having the ship slowly sink into the frigid ocean as our heroes make their way to the bottom (or is it the top?). While Petersen keeps the action moving at lightening speed, he depicts the constricted, agonizing moments of survival the best. A heart stopping film highlight features the survivors attempting the impossible by wiggling their way through snug air ducts, looking to beat the unforgiving rising waters, of course finding numerous complications along the route. The director knows how to hammer tension out of the moment, and when "Poseidon" concentrates on being a tight-lipped, full throttle disaster film, it's persuasive and exquisite snuff entertainment.

The one crucial component that the new "Poseidon" doesn't share with its forefather is time. Running just over 90 minutes, Petersen is searching for the larger picture of summer escapism, using a sprightly pace to help nurse the tension. It's only a cool fifteen minutes into the picture before the wave smacks the ship, leaving little time to expand on the main characters. Writer Mark Protosevich ("The Cell") is left to find brief openings in the action to shoehorn in bits and pieces of character introduction and backstory, but his dialog is positively dreadful.

"Poseidon" becomes unbearably clunky whenever the actors have to try slipping exposition in between gulps of air. It's one thing to use stereotypes and one-dimensional characters to paint a bigger portrait of endurance (it has been and will be a staple of disaster cinema). Petersen doesn't allow time for even the thinnest of characterizations, and it makes "Poseidon" look amateurish and cheesy when out of nowhere characters declare their vocations, romantic aspirations, or family life while outrunning fireballs or rising waters.

The 1972 version wasn’t exactly a model of screenwriting genius, but at least it stopped to smell the roses. Petersen is too fixated on his pandemonium to gently encourage the roles past an elementary level, robbing great actors like Russell and Dreyfuss of depth, and making unresolved talent such as Rossum, Lucas, and Barrett look even more unprofessional

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originally posted: 05/12/06 07:23:58
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User Comments

3/19/20 Charles Tatum Sloppy and bored 2 stars
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 cliché. 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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