Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon0
The summer movie season has arrived in grand style with the first thrill ride of the season In Poseidon, viewers are taking to the very edge and beyond in one of the better adventure films in recent memory.
Based on the 1972 original, the film once again follows a ship in peril and a group of survivors attempting to save themselves from certain doom. Onboard the Poseidon, the guests are a mixed bag of society, but fate is about to bring them all together when their transatlantic crossing hits a rather unexpected snag in the form of a massive tidal wave which capsizes the boat leaving the survivors to deal with an upside down ship and the constant threat of drowning.
Wasting little time on character backgrounds and motivations, the film gets right to the action as within 10 minutes, the action is underway, and rarely lets up over the roughly 99 minutes of the films run time.
After the disaster has hit and the survivors survey the carnage caused by the wave, Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell), decides to ignore the advice of the ships captain and follow a maverick named Dylan (Josh Lucas), out of the ballroom in an effort not only to find his daughter, but a way out of the ship. Joining the duo are a young mother named Maggie (Jacinda Barrett), and her son, as well as business man Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss). As the group ventures to find a way out, they do in time meet up with Roberts’s daughter and her finance as well as a few other survivors.
As the group is forced to work with one another for survival, conflicts arise as Dylan and Robert clash over the best course of action. It is learned that Robert was a former fireman who after a heroic act was able to become Mayor of New York, but for reasons unknown was not able to deal with his success which had caused his wife to leave him. Now Michael spends his days in luxury being an overprotective father to his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum).
While much of Michael’s past is uncovered in a few lines tossed at him in a moment of anger, even less is known about Dylan. Prior to the accident, he revealed to Maggie that he takes money from people who like to get into arguments and play cards. Only Richard Nelsons character is given a bit more background as we learn that he is a Gay business man whose lover has left him for another in London, leaving Richard alone, and suicidal. The fact that Richard is preparing to jump overboard and is stopped only by the site of the closing wave allows his character to show some diversity as in the face of disaster, he finds new meaning and purpose.
The remainder of the film is packed with narrow escapes, danger, death, and the ever constant menace of the water which like an unrelenting killer is never far away from the group and stalks them without mercy at every turn.
While some of the situations are beyond reason, the film has some impressive sets and visuals, and Director Wolfgang Peterson keeps the pacing of the film fresh as it never stops long enough to loose its momentum.
The leads do the best they can with their stock characters, yet this is compensated for by the thrills of the film and the physicality of the rolls. Josh Lucas reportedly broke his arm while filming the movie underscoring just how much the actors put themselves into the film.
While Poseidon is not likely to be a cinematic classic, it is an enjoyable if flawed summer film that provides enough thrills to keep you entertained.
3 stars out of 5