Saturday, May 13, 2006


As I was watching Wolfgang Petersen's "Poseidon" slowly sink on screen, I had the nagging feeling he was taking the whole summer with him. This movie is just that bad.

The five minutes he spends on "back story" are the definition of a double-edged sword: They're so excruciatingly awful you're thankful to see the giant wave rolling towards these "characters." But it isn't until they're running through the umpteenth ship tunnel to escape yet another moment of peril that you realize you have no idea who these people are, and therefore don't particularly care if any one of them lives or dies.

It's simply amazing how much bad dialogue they packed into such a short period of time, but here's my favorite snippet: In a conversation with her father, played by Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum refers to a certain part of her body as "the twins." Not exactly the best example of big-screen father-daughter bonding.

With an ounce of character development, though, we would have cared for these people, because, after all, they're all fairly attractive individuals. Josh Lucas and Russell lead the band of passengers who break out of the entrapped ballroom, and Rossum is the definition of waifish beauty. Richard Dreyfuss is also on hand as a gay architect (I guess it was the earring that was supposed to give him away.)

I could have forgiven all this if there was an ounce of excitement in their quest for survival. If this were remotely like an adventure. Instead it felt all too real, eliminating any possible notion of escapism.

Maybe it's the CSI effect. They spent much more time examining maps or hatches, or arguing about whether the fireman or ex-Navy dude were better qualified to lead, than on actually building up any intensity or suspense. I expected an adrenaline rush, but this wasn't even a pulse-quickener for an instant.

And one last thing that really pissed me off. I realize that, this being a Hollywood horror/disaster movie, the black guy will have to be among the first to die, but when that black man is the great Andre Braugher, who played the ship's captain, can't you give him more then three lines of dialogue? What a waste. At least he took that annoying Fergie, who played a cruise-ship singer (glimpse your future, hon?), with him.

But remember, it's still early. There will surely be much, much better films this summer. Starting tomorrow, I hope, with "Art School Confidential." Stay tuned.


Invisible Lizard said...

Your review is 100% correct, but I feel like you're picking on the retarded kid on the play-ground. Few disaster flicks actually pull off character development simply because they spend so much time focusing on the disaster itself. So I went in knowing we'd get stock characters with no depth (pardon the pun), and I found myself kind of enjoying the eye candy.

Reel Fanatic said...

I know what you mean, lizard ... If he had delivered more excitement on the disaster end, all would have been forgiven

Anonymous said...

By the end of the movie, I was hoping that kid would bite it. His stupid fault for wandering off. The movie was bad, but at least it didn't have Tom Cruise in it.

Joe's Place

Belmondo said...

Hi Keith,

Thanks for you comment on Cinema Flinte. I think another thing that bothered me about Poseidon was the meanness of the plot. In the original Gene Hackman made an impassioned attempt to get people to follow him to safety. In this we get a group of people, led by Lucas, just trying to get out to save themselves. The ensuing kicking to death of the guy from Six Feet Under was completely uncalled for and plain mean.

Reel Fanatic said...

Exactly right Belmondo ... and I like that guy! ... he was great on Six Feet Under

themarina said...

NOOOooooooo! I think the ship has officially sunk. This was right at the top of my things to do this weekend (watch Poseidon) but I didn't get around to it thanks to the great weather.

I've now read a handful of bad reviews. I guess maybe this is going to be a rental as the husband suggested. Oi.

Maxine said...

I am old enough to have seen the original (when very young, though!) and that was awfully leaden. Sounds as if the remake is not much better. Will probably take an age to get to the UK, and not worth watching from the sounds of it.