UK release date: 1 June 2006

cast list

Josh Lucas
Kurt Russell
Richard Dreyfuss
Emmy Rossum
Jacinda Barrett

directed by
Wolfgang Peterson
The Summer season has officially started. With a whimper. The dreadful Mission: Impossible 3 rightly underperformed and now Poseidon, a remake of The Poseidon Adventure, has flopped in the US. Rumoured to have cost up to $200 million, it only managed to garner a paltry $22 million in its opening weekend. The question remains yet again, why remake a film which was so enjoyable in the first place?

It’s New Year’s Eve on the luxury cruise liner Poseidon. Various passengers all look forward to celebrating the new year while persevering with their hugely original and complex problems. But as the clock strikes twelve a shock tidal wave capsizes the ship and the remaining survivors all group together to find a way out.

Poseidon is the definition of a Hollywood blockbuster. And no, that’s not a good thing. It bears some of the worst characterisation and dialogue of any action movie that I can remember and serves only to showcase the supposedly excellent special effects. The introduction to the characters and the pre-sinking segment of the film is so inane and forgettable that you’ll start to find yourself praying for the wave to come.

None of the characters ever manage to rise above their clichd status. Richard Dreyfuss plays a gay man; therefore he has an earring. Josh Lucas plays a bachelor; therefore he has stubble. No attempt is made to try and endear us to these cardboard cutout characters, therefore none of the ensuing carnage illicits anything more than a shrug. The dialogue is also painfully, painfully expositional. Check out this awesome exchange: “Hey, I recognise your dad” “That’s because he was the mayor of New York City” “That’s cool” “It wasn’t”. Grim.

So, as little attention was paid to the script, the effects must be amazing huh? Surprisingly given director Wolfgang Peterson’s track record (The Perfect Storm, Troy) the effects are hugely underwhelming. There’s nothing here we haven’t seen done better in Titanic. The film does have two positives. Firstly it’s rather ruthless with its disposal of bodies. It almost takes glee in flinging about it’s extras and crushing them with variously cruel deaths. And secondly it’s mercifully short.

Out of the ensemble cast, no-one manages to do anything particularly memorable. Josh Lucas tries at least while Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss slum it depressingly. The characters all seem to possess a large knowledge of ships and the ins and outs of sea travel and there is a character sacrifice near the end which has been shamelessly ripped off from Armageddon. The only real delight I got out of the film was seeing Fergie from the awful Black Eyed Peas, who plays a lounge singer, get killed.

After the abominable Mission: Impossible 3 and now this shameful remake, I’m starting to get that sinking feeling about the upcoming summer festivities. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a lazy blockbuster as Poseidon. If its audience were as stupid as it seems to think they are then they might as well have just re-released the original and pretended it was a remake. This soggy disaster thriller is as bad as Hollywood gets. A ludicrous waste of $200 million.

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