2006Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Cast: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss
ow, this one sure tanked, didn't it? Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting where remaking The Poseidon Adventure was deemed a reasonable use of $120 million. I haven't seen the original, but doing so did not strike me as necessary, and Poseidon doesn't provoke much interest in the source material. Big boat. Big wave. Big deal. Wolfgang Petersen's remake is an exercise in making ninety minutes seem like three hundred.
Most people who went to the movies over the weekend are now discussing how lame The Da Vinci Code was, but let's pause to reflect on a film that never stood a chance of being good to begin with. Poseidon, which somehow scored higher than Da Vinci on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, is about a cruise ship named "Poseidon." It has nothing to do with the Greek god of the same name. I'm guessing the producers removed the word "adventure" from the title so as not to deceive movie-goers.
Up front, we're hastily introduced to a few characters, who, by virtue of their introduction, will remain alive for at least part of the movie. The passengers have gathered to celebrate New Year's Eve. Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas performs, apropos of nothing. Big wave knocks the boat over. Buncha people die. As the survivors gather, the captain (Andre Braugher from Homicide: Life on the Street) helpfully provides a detailed explanation of what happened: "Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we've been hit by what's known as a rogue wave." What is a "rogue wave"? Is it like a normal wave, except it plays by its own rules?
The survivors we meet include the Fearless Leader (Josh Lucas), the Middle-Aged Guy With Something to Prove (Kurt Russell), the Fearless Leader's Love Interest (Jacinda Barrett), the Constantly Imperiled Child (Jimmy Bennett), the Angry Gay Guy (Richard Dreyfuss), and the Young Lovers (Emmy Rossum, Mike Vogel). Oh, and a garishly dressed gambler named Lucky Larry (Kevin Dillon of Entourage), who early on tries to push past women and children to get himself to safety, which, of course, means he's toast.
These people assemble and try to navigate their way out of the upside-down boat. This involves much screaming, swimming, climbing, and dodging falling objects. Fortunately, the group includes some kind of boat designer (Lucas) and an ex-firefighter (Russell), though his employment of CPR is laughably incorrect. Sadly absent are a diving specialist, an open-heart surgeon, an Olympic gymnast, and an escape artist.
Very little happens that will bear interest to even the most casual of movie-goers. Why? Because the people who made Poseidon are lazy, lazy, lazy. Petersen has directed good movies, and there's no way he couldn't have known this script was balls. Here are some ways it could have been improved:
*Snakes. Alligators. Sharks. Giant squid. The Undead. Jesus Christ, something!
*The token kid develops J-horror tendencies.
*Instead of getting hit by a "rogue wave,” the people on board are treated to a concert by Sub Pop band Rogue Wave.
*After each harrowing escape, at least one character says to another: "Now, let's get you out of those wet clothes," and they commence with vigorous intercourse.
*A serial killer on board, being transported to an overseas prison, is freed when the wave hits.
*White people die first for once.
*The survivors stumble into a web of religious intrigue involving Opus Dei, the Holy Grail, the Priory of Sion...and a race against time.
*After they're saved at the end, the rescue helicopter gets hijacked.
*An earthquake turns the theater upside down, and you're forced to escape through an auditorium in which a good movie is playing.
Poseidon is in theaters across the country now.
By: Troy Reimink
Published on: 2006-05-24