Poseidon

Poseidon

**

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Titanic lit the touch paper. Trouble on set, millions over budget, James Cameron rumoured to have a permanent attack of The Rage, talk of Heaven's Gate, the film that brought down a studio...

Hang on. Titanic was a HUGE international hit.

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During the age of disaster movies, before Cameron's Folly, wasn't there another ocean liner calamity spectacular that scored high at the box office? Yes, indeedy! It was The Poseidon Adventure (1972), in which a cruise ship was turned upside down by a freak wave and a plucky band of assorted "characters," led by the intrepid Reverend Frank Scott (Gene Hackman), forced its way up through the debris of collapsed infrastructure, as water rushed in, to freedom.

Finally, post-T, post-CGI, those imaginative Hollywood execs at head office decided on a bigger, better, bolder remake to suit the PlayStation generation. The result is tame, confusing - without a map of the ship, how does anyone know where they are? - unexciting, predictable and repetitive. Worst of all, you don't care about the people. Character development has been ditched in favour of yet another scene of devastation and dumb courage.

The intrepid man of God has been replaced by a professional gambler (increasingly smug Josh Lucas), with backup from the ex-mayor of New York (ever reliable Kurt Russell), who is so used to getting things done, he takes no advice and ignores warnings.

The plucky band that defies the captain's advice to stay together in the upside down ballroom consists of the ex-mayor's daughter (Emmy Rossum) and her boyfriend (Mike Vogel), who have to be careful where they snog because dad is overprotective and can't stand the thought of his little girl caring for anyone else. Then there is the hysterical stowaway (Mia Maestro) and the jilted, middle-aged homosexual (can this really be The Goodbye Girl's dynamic Oscar-winner, Richard Dreyfuss?), a refreshingly normal single mum (Jacinda Barrett) and her weedy, annoying son (Jimmy Bennett).

The most thrilling moment is when Dreyfuss orders a $5000 bottle of wine at dinner before the boat goes topsy-turvy and the most absurd is when Vogel says to Rossum, before embarking on a death defying underwater swim, "I need you to tell me that you love me." Quite understandably, she's dumbstruck and, while struggling to find words, Russell can't be having with it and does the death defying stunt himself. What a hero!

Although the film is short (98 mins) by blockbuster standards, it goes on forever in your head. Water, water everywhere, but not a good idea in sight.

Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2006
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Another cruise liner, another wet day at the office, another remake
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John Gallagher **
Anton Bitel **

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Mark Protosevich, based on the novel by Paul Gallico

Starring: Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett, Emmy Rossum, Mike Vogel, Mia Maestro, Jimmy Bennett, Andre Braugher, Freddy Rodriguez, Kevin Dillon, Kirk B R Woller, Stacy Ferguson

Year: 2006

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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