Action starring Kurt Russell. It's New Year's Eve and festivities have begun aboard the luxury cruise ship Poseidon, at sea in the North Atlantic. One of the finest vessels of its kind, Poseidon stands more than 20 stories tall, boasts 800 staterooms and 13 passenger decks. Tonight, many of the ship's guests have gathered to greet the New Year in style in the magnificent main ballroom. However a Rogue Wave, a monstrous wall of water over one hundred feet high, is bearing down on them with tremendous speed. The wave strikes with colossal force, pitching the ship heavily to port before rolling it completely upside down; supports collapse, broken gas lines ignite flash fires and lights fail, leaving vast sections of the ship in darkness and chaos. In its aftermath a few hundred survivors are left to huddle in the still-intact main ballroom, now resting below the waterline. One man, professional gambler Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas), prefers to test the odds alone. Ignoring orders, he prepares to exit the Ballroom and find his own way to safety, but is collared by nine-year-old Conor (Jimmy Bennett), who asks that Dylan take him and his mother Maggie (Jacinda Barrett) along. Fast behind them is Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell), anxious to search for his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) and her fiance Christian (Mike Vogel).
The 1972 disaster hit The Poseidon Adventure
was ripe for a big-budget CGI remake, and who better to helm it than thriller expert Wolfgang Petersen, director of Das Boot
and The Perfect Storm
? It hardly matters that a TV movie remake (also based on Paul Gallico's original 1969 source novel) was made less than a year before, because Petersen's version is far more spectacular, with shocking digital effects, massive sets, amazing stunt-work and enough fire and water to fill five movies with challenging worst-case scenarios. Once again, the plot concerns the capsizing (by a massive "rogue wave") of a state-of-the-art luxury liner, and the struggle of a small group of survivors (including Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum, and Richard Dreyfuss) to climb upwards, to the ship's hull, in their treacherous quest for a safe exit. Unfortunately, most of these characters are two-dimensional and under-developed (especially when compared to the 1972 film's all-star cast), and the unimaginative screenplay by Mark Protosevich (reportedly worked on by several uncredited writers) subjects them to a rote series of obstacles that grow increasingly routine and repetitious, not to mention contrived and illogical. Again, it hardly matters, because Petersen's handling of non-stop action is so slick and professional that Poseidon
gets by on sheer adrenaline. The capsizing scenes are nothing less than awesome, with some effects so real (and so horrifying) that younger and more sensitive viewers may need to look away. And while it lacks the engaging humanity of the 1972 version, Poseidon
is certainly never boring. Faint praise, perhaps, but you'll get your popcorn's worth of mindless entertainment.--Jeff Shannon
--This text refers to the