Poseidon (DVD, 2006, 2-Disc Set, Special Edition) Reviews

Poseidon (DVD, 2006, 2-Disc Set, Special Edition)

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Drama! Suspense! Tension!!! ... ad nauseum...

Jun 8, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Josh Lucas is quite good, some good effects, excellent musical score...

Cons:... ... well, just about everything else...

The Bottom Line: If distaster movies are your thing then you may well like this one, but otherwise steer well clear.


Take one generic disaster movie plot based on a successful seventies film (“The Poseidon Adventure”). Add in a few generic disaster movie characters, plus a homosexual to make it all cosily politically correct. Throw in a star name or two, get yourself a huge special effects budget, and viola! You have Poseidon.

You may be able to work out from that not only that this film didn’t do much for me, but that I’m not a great fan of the disaster movie genre. Apart from Volcano (which benefited greatly from having Tommy Lee Jones as the central character), I really can’t name another that truly gripped me. (There may be one or two, but none that I can remember at the moment.) In fact I wasn’t going to watch this one at all but as my other half decided she wanted to watch it, I saw it yesterday evening.

Take one generic disaster movie plot… - all seems fine, disaster happens, lots of people die, a few brave souls try to survive, some of them get killed, some of them survive. Great heroics are shown, at least one act of the ultimate sacrifice is made, at least one female character just stands there screaming without ever doing a single useful thing. The end.

Well, Poseidon can’t really help having a predictable “This ship cannot sink!” … … … “Oh dear, this ship is in fact sinking” moment, it has the same inevitability as Titanic. (Oh hang on, I did enjoy that one – oops, there goes my last tiny scrap of credibility…) With equal inevitability there’s a rugged male character who unwillingly takes the lead and gains redemption for his previously self-centred way of life, an over-protective father with mildly rebellious daughter who has love interest in tow, a mother who can’t do anything but call out her child’s name (and scream), and a stowaway. I think it’s fair to say that I have no idea if these elements came from the 1972 film, as I don’t remember seeing it, but it did all seem somewhat predictable.

From the major disaster (which happens early in the film) caused by a “rogue wave”, there are a series of mini-disasters along the way. The tension is sustained and unrelenting, which is another way of saying that it nearly put me to sleep as tension is only effective if it is broken every now and then. Once or twice the plot did stretch believability just that little bit too far (I know people are capable of incredible things when their adrenaline’s running but do you really believe that a small boy with an improvised tool and reaching through a small gap could undo screws that would have undoubtedly been put in place by a power tool?!?), and the fact that a few of the early scenes actually looked as though the characters were standing in front of a screen didn’t help that.

On the other hand, the effects were undoubtedly good in many places and the music tried its very best to stir some emotion and build atmosphere. (Klaus Badelt’s excellent score should have graced a much better film than this.) John Seale’s cinematography was also of a very high standard. The cast was very varied in quality… Josh Lucas as the tough loner come team leader Dylan Johns was good, Kurt Russell was okay as slightly over-bearing father and former Mayor Robert Ramsey, and Andre Braugher was good as the ship’s captain. (Not much of a part really, but he was good in it!) Most of the other performances were passable or slightly better. Emmy Rossum as Jennifer Ramsey (as mildly rebellious daughter of slightly overbearing father) really didn’t convince at all, her emotions seemed completely forced. (Again…) Maybe that type of acting works fine when most of the audience if a hundred feet away and can’t see your face properly, but in films it really fails badly.

Well, there you go. I didn’t like it, but then I didn’t really expect to, and I’m not a fan of the genre. I wasn’t impressed by Wolfgang Peterson’s direction, but then he was delivering what his target audience (which didn’t include me) wanted, so I can’t really fault him too much for that. If you like disaster flicks then you’ll probably enjoy this my wife liked it a lot more than I did), but for me this only barely gets 3 stars. It just goes to show (again) that effects and set design do not on their own make a good movie. But then we all knew that didn't we? Apart from many film-makers, apparently...

Other Information

Length: 99 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (12A) for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.

Related Links

Klaus Badlet also wrote the music for Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl

John Seale also did the cinematography for Cold Mountain

Another film I wasn’t impressed with but you might like if disaster movies are your thing is The Day After Tomorrow


Emmy Rossum also failed to impress in the above and Phantom of the Opera, though in fairness that was also a film I didn’t watch of my own volition.


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