"Survival of the Wettest"
POSEIDON, a remake of the 1970s B-movie classic, takes itself more seriously than its predecessor but fails to create true suspense or sympathetic characters. Of course, the campy fun is also gone, which will leave audiences checking their watches.
The Poseidon is a well-appointed cruise ship filled with wealthy revelers celebrating New Year’s Eve. Kurt Russell plays Robert Ramsey, a former fireman and New York City mayor who is treating his daughter (Emmy Rossum from 2004’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) and her boyfriend to a vacation. Josh Lucas, of this winter’s GLORY ROAD, plays a card shark who travels on cruises to bilk rich men out of their money at the poker table. The cast is filled out with Richard Dreyfuss and a handful of young actresses and children.
No time is wasted getting to the meat of the movie. A gigantic wave hits the ship and overturns it. Many passengers are killed in the chaos of tumbling furniture and explosions, although a few survivors are left in the ballroom, which is sealed off from the water. The poker shark realizes he must escape the ship before every room is flooded. A small group bravely follows behind him. With the water rising steadily and the ship falling apart, they make their way through a maze of traps and dead-ends.
A few tense moments spring up. Some of the better ones involve an empty elevator shaft, a room on fire and crossing the boat’s large lobby, but just as many scenes fall flat – especially the lengthy, predictable sequence inside an air duct. (Claustrophobes, stay away!) The acting and script are more wooden than one expects even from a summer action movie, which makes it difficult to care about the characters. When one of the movie’s heroes died, I found myself shrugging. POSEIDON can’t ratchet up enough drama.
Some positive elements are included, however. Two parents in the group are dedicated to their children’s safety, including one who sacrifices himself for his child. The group as a whole looks out for one another, even when it would be easier to forge ahead by themselves. Thus, a selflessness grows between them. Furthermore, one of the minor characters is a Christian who prays to God at least once. A crucifix around her neck plays an important role in helping the people get out of one scrape. Finally, the movie clocks in at only 89 minutes, which is far shorter than most big budget disaster movies and is a gesture appreciated by the audience.
Ultimately, POSEIDON is boring and fares especially poorly when compared to another May movie, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3, which some might consider mindless but is certainly fun to watch.
(C, BB, Ho, LL, VV, S, A, D, M) Light Christian worldview with bravery, self-sacrifice, helping other people, and a Christian character who prays to God for safety and survivors borrow crucifix necklace from Christian woman to get out of one scrape, plus brief mention of a male character’s onshore homosexual relationship, which apparently has broken up; four light obscenities, one SOB, four or five strong profanities by unpleasant character, and six light exclamatory profanities; some strong violence includes large wave turns boat upside down, ocean water knocks people off their feet, woman falls to her death, two men fall to their deaths, explosions, people drown, many passengers are crushed and burned but the camera does not dwell on their injuries, boy in danger several times, people electrocuted, and images of corpses but not in a extremely graphic manner; no sex scenes, but young adults kiss and brief mention of a male character’s homosexual relationship; no nudity, but female cleavage; drinking; smoking; and, gambling and man makes another man fall to his death in order to save his life.
POSEIDON is a remake of the 1970s B-movie classic. It takes itself more seriously than its predecessor but fails to create suspense or sympathetic characters. The movie gets to the action quickly. A rogue wave overturns a luxurious cruise ship, and a daring group of eight decides to find their own escape instead of trusting the captain. The group includes a former fireman played by Kurt Russell, a card shark, a mother and her preteen son, and a newly engaged couple. With the water rising steadily and the ship falling apart, they must make their way through a maze of traps and dead-ends.
A few tense moments spring up in POSEIDON, but just as many scenes fall flat, especially the predictable sequence inside an air duct. The acting and script are wooden. This makes it difficult to relate to the characters. There are some positive elements, like the father who sacrifices himself for the group's safety. Also, the group as a whole acts selflessly, even when it would be easier to go it alone. Ultimately, however, POSEIDON is boring and fares poorly when compared to another May movie, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III.