Tuesday, May 16, 2006


RUN TIME:99 min

Watching a movie like POSEIDON is like mapping the events of a movie to a set of predefined rules. There seems to be a common guideline among these disaster movie-makers and they follow it religiously step by step.
Wolfgang Petersen is considered to be some sort of an expert at handling high sea adventures after DAS BOOT and THE PERFECT STORM. Hence he has been given the responsibility of re-making THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE-one of the great box office hits of the 1970s and one of the most famous disaster flicks.
To begin with, I am not exactly a big fan of the original nor do I agree with that type of film-making. It was campy and had its fair share of corny dialogues. So I wasn’t exactly expecting a classic from Mr. Petersen. So my guess is that we shouldn’t crucify Mr. Petersen for making POSEIDON. It is not exactly appalling as say PEARL HARBOR. But it is terribly formulaic and clich├ęd. It is as if the director is going through the motions. It is quite apparent that POSEIDON is not in anyway a dream project for Mr. Petersen as was KING KONG to Peter Jackson. Hence the movie is lackluster and totally uninspired. I am not quite sure if it will even generate any quick money at the box office for which it was made in the first place. Back in 1971 a disaster movie was a new thing and a high sea adventure would generate a lot of interest. But today when we are living in age of the LORD OF THE RINGS movies and THE MATRIX movies the bar is obviously set high. One really needs to put in a lot of effort to catch the eyes of the audience. You need to movie around the formulaic plot of the 1970s and come up with something of your own. You need to develop real believable characters and delve into the psychologies of them. In short you need to create an experience. Peter Jackson came up with KINK KONG which arguably is the finest remake ever made of a major studio hit. And unfortunately there is none of that in POSEIDON. Mr. Petersen’s characters are nothing but set-pieces. The plot and the screenplay are pathetically banal.
The plot or whatever there is of it involves a large sea vessel POSEIDON that is hit by a huge tidal wave at the stroke of midnight and turns it over its head. What follows is how a group of people get out of it.
The performances are average at best. Anyways I wasn’t expecting a lot from a cast that has one expression wonders like Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas and Emmy Rossum in it.
They are all playing characters that are poorly etched and developed. These characters change according to the sequence with absolutely no consistency. And how many times have we not seen a father-daughter-daughter’s lover angle in the movies? POSEIDON repeats everything we have already seen a zillion times.
When a movie is this bad the special effects become the main draw. When there is a non-existent plot, formulaic screenplay and average actors the only thing one waits for are some exciting special effects. And I would point out here that the special effects were especially disappointing. I was eagerly waiting for the huge killer wave to overturn POSEIDON. But the waves in Cecill De Mille’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS back in 1956 were much better than this one. If you have $160 million at your disposal you have to show it on screen. Mr. Spielberg showed us every penny of the $125 million in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS and so did Mr. Emmerich in THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW with his $175 million. But Mr. Petersen has come up with absolutely no special effects we can remember. That for me is the movie’s weakest point.
Last but not the least, there is no aura about the vessel POSEIDON. In TITANIC when the vessel was sinking in itself represented a tragic sight. But the sinking of POSEIDON becomes as exciting as say the movies end credits. That is how you can describe the movie as – bland. You would not remember the next morning a thing about POSEIDON.

1 comment:

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