One blogger's take on movies, television shows, books, and music -- the good, the bad, and the bottom line

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I watched Poseidon last night. I was the geeky 12 year old that saw the original The Poseidon Adventure back in the day, so I was interested to see what take the remake took. So, how about a head to head comparison?


The Good: Cruise ship Poseidon turns turtle on New Year's Eve as a result of the timely intercession of a "rogue" [how convenient] wave. A small group of intrepid survivors, who don't want to sit pat and await rescue, go through hell and high water [literally] to get out pf the ship. Reasonably cool effects, although I kept thinking that the swooping exteriors of the fictional cruise ship were (a) kinda fake-looking, and (b) kinda "Titanic goes 21st century." The cast, featuring Kurt Russell, is passable, with the exception of Richard Dreyfuss, who not only was wasted in a tangential supporting role, but also who was badly unbelieveable as an older gay man who gets jilted just seconds before you-know-what happens. And it does happen, with pretty cool effects. Interesting story elements, that evoke but update for contemporary times the original. More than once, I found myself on the edge of my seat a few times, even though I knew how it was going to turn out.

The Bad: Well, you know how it ends. For all the updating, it's still just the original on steroids. The gags are too eerily reminiscent of the original, especially the obligatory swimming marathon sequence, as well as the roster of those who don't make it. You can just imagine how they pitched this one: "Think of Titanic, put in the present time, and update the gags from the original. It'll make a ga-zillion!" In what might be an upside for some, there were many more dead folks floating by. For me, though, after 9/11, post-Katrina, and the Tsunami, I've seen enough corpses to last me for a while.

The Bottom Line: Two Flicks. It's OK, but wait for cable.

The Poseidon Adventure

The Good: As above, the ship gets hit by a rogue wave and turns upside down on New Year's Eve. Led by self-reliant preacher Gene Hackman, an all-star cast including Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, Ernest Borgnine, Stella Stevens, and Roddy McDowell, encounter upside-down toilets, among other things, on their way to salvation at the bottom of the ship. Cool Effects for 1972, and Hackman is deliciously over the top as the fiery, self-sacrificing preacher. Shelley Winters, as the elderly matron with the high school swimming medal, is fun to watch during the original obligatory swim through the muck sequence. In hindsight, I loved Leslie Nielson in just about his last straight role before eventually becoming Frank Drebbin.

The Bad: The dialogue is a bit shrill, and the little kid is -- and was, in the day -- annoying as hell. The exteriors of the ship itself are pretty sophomoric, although in line with early 1970s technology. It just shows how far we've come since then [Yeah, real far: great effects, but we're still telling the same stories, in remake after remake].

The Bottom line: Three Flicks. If you have to choose, choose the original. Although dated, it still tells the better story.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:47 AM  

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