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'Poseidon' Movie Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By

'Poseidon' Movie Review

Josh Lucas and Jacinda Barrett in Warner Bros. Pictures' action adventure film, Poseidon.

© Warner Bros Pictures
Poseidon is nothing more than an action-heavy, 'leave your brain at the door and just go along for the ride' summer popcorn movie. It doesn’t try to disguise itself as a compelling drama, and even goes as far as to have the characters not string more than a few dozen words together after the ship tumbles over and action takes the driver’s seat. It is what it is, with the actors and director Wolfgang Petersen all but winking at the audience in acknowledging that fact.

The story’s simple enough. A rogue wave hits a cruise ship packed with passengers playing poker, listening to Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas (she’s actually playing the role of a lounge singer but since we see her for all of three minutes, it’s easier to pretend it’s just Fergie being Fergie), and celebrating New Year’s Eve in their best formal attire. The wave strikes, the ship turns over, and now what’s supposed to be the floor becomes the ceiling and the only way out is through the bottom of the ship.

A small group (including three of the men who were playing poker together which begs the question: are people who play Texas Hold’em really smarter than the rest of us?) decides to disobey the Captain’s orders and leave the ballroom in search of a way off the doomed ship. While everyone else remains inside the supposedly safe ballroom, 10 independent thinkers strike out on their own. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out which group made the wrong decision…

Mike Vogel and Emmy Rossum in Poseidon.

© Warner Bros Pictures
Director Petersen must have spent his nights leading up to filming Poseidon dreaming up new ways to torture his cast. It’s apparent the actors are doing the majority of their own stunts and that’s a major plus in making the film’s tense action sequences seem real. In this age of CGI-heavy films, being able to watch the faces of the actors as they’re obviously enduring whatever their characters are supposed to be going through does add a nice little jolt of reality to the Poseidon experience.

Poseidon isn’t a movie that makes any kind of statement and it would certainly be a waste of time, and an unnecessary use of your brain cells, to try and look for any sort of message in a film so blatantly devoid of one. If you’re looking for backstories, character development, and people you get to know so well you don’t want them to get killed off, then this 2006 edition of Poseidon isn’t for you. Rent the DVD of the original film and save your money. This Poseidon is a movie made specifically for action fans. There’s limited dialogue in the second half of the film and what’s there floats along only at surface level.

As for the cast (including Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon, Mia Maestro, Jimmy Bennett and Freddy Rodriguez), they should all be applauded for getting into the spirit of the film and putting their lives on the line to give audiences an adrenaline-pumping treat. Despite the fact they’re playing what are basically one-dimensional characters, the actors do it with such earnest intensity you cheer them on regardless of the fact we’re not privy to anything beyond the smallest tidbits of information on any of the characters they’re portraying.

There were more than a few scenes reminiscent of Titanic and, of course, the idea’s been done before (this is after all a remake), but there’s still room for a movie that lets you pass an hour and a half without having to analyze what you’re experiencing on the screen. The effects are all first-rate and there's actually a decent amount of genuinely armrest-clenching moments.

As long as watching pretty people fight for their lives onscreen is your idea of a good time, then check out Poseidon.

GRADE: B-

Poseidon was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and is rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.

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