Movie Review — Poseidon (2006)

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Remakes are always risky. Disaster remakes are even riskier. Poseidon is a film that disappointed many but was a pleasant surprise for me. Former Blockbuster filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen evidently understood that this May release about a luxury cruise liner flipping upside down is all about gripping special effects, “survival” tension and waves of youthful zaniness.

For as exciting as the film is, the production ironically starts out with quite a bit of exposition. It makes sense that Josh Lucas’ character (the lead — and no, it does not matter that I can’t remember his name) is shown running around the perimeter of the ship, exercising, to make his later strength believable, however it’s not really worth it to the viewer because nowadays it’s completely obvious that all we we were really meant to see was the 360-degree shots of the CGI ship. It still looks great but for a new viewer in 2022 it is not really anything special, at all. In addition, nobody cares about Fergie anymore and not many people did back then, anyway.

All we really want to see is the cool, monstrous wave rise up out of the water, hit the ridiculously giant ship and see who makes it through before the credits roll. Thank God that the introductory portion of the film only lasts about 20 minutes because that’s exactly what we get. When the “rogue wave” hits, as the expectedly clueless Cruise Director describes, the production becomes very impressive. Visual and practical effects are blended seamlessly and thousands of extras are used appropriately in front of skilled camera work. We see a desperately romantic Richard Dreyfuss terrified of the tidal wave in the distance, along with the rest of the passengers and crew feeling the same as the water crashes into the boat’s windows and all hell breaks loose for everyone involved. Glass breaks all over, light fixtures crash, gas leaks happen, and as we expect, many people don’t make it, all on New Year’s Eve. If any readers are unaware, the entire ship of Poseidon flips upside down and the movie takes off from there, almost as good as the original does but not quite thanks to the fact that much of this 2006 version is a shortened copy full of dazzling effects.

A positive that Poseidon has going for it is the acting. Kurt Russell, one of the most underrated actors of our time, does a great job as the film’s savior and the scene with him saving the day is very intense thanks to his performance. Around the same time of the same scene, heavy, gripping emotion is felt from the little-known Jacinda Barrett who plays the mother of the also B-once child-actor Jimmy Bennett, as water is rising in a corridor of the ship and the mother’s character relatedly states to her son, “I am here for you and I love you.”

1970s movies were great. Many of them were hard to beat. 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure is an example of one of those classics. Although 2006’s Poseidon has its moments (including a brief yet amusing effort from Kevin Dillon), the story structure is absolutely terrible. Although the original was not realistic either, there was something about the former flick’s script that actually did feel original or at least serviceable. Poseidon’s screenplay is not serviceable — the sudden flow of everything is at times unbearable and often times convoluted to the point where the audience has no idea what is going on, at all, making our brains feel frustratingly upside-down. Another couple actors that are noticeably missed here from the original are Gene Hackman and Jack Albertson. Still, the ensemble cast in 2006’s Poseidon does a great job. The effects and production design are fantastic. This is the perfect popcorn-flick for anyone in the mood to sit down and watch some mindless Hollywood entertainment.

Overall Score:

4-Star Scale: 3.0 stars

Out of 10: 7/10

Grade on Report Card: B