Film Reviews

POSEIDON (Victoria)

By • May 12th, 2006 •

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Warner Bros. Picturesin association with Virtual Studios, Radiant Prods. / Next Entertainment / Irwin Allen Prods. / Synthesis Entertainment
MPAA rating PG-13

I cheered for the water. I hoped all the characters, especially Fergie, drowned.

The 1972 Irwin Allen “iconic” THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE was over 30 years ago! I certainly do not remember seeing it. Is it on anyone’s Top Ten list of all time favorite movies? I have no frame of reference here. I will just say that the special effects on POSEIDON are terrific but I didn’t care for one moment about the characters. Why should any of them survive? Did any of them deserve our emotional investment?

I only cared about Josh Lucas staying alive (until he suddenly transformed into a hero). Why? Because he was the lone character that appeared to have the selfish determination needed to live. He was the only one who said, ‘I’m not staying here as the ship sinks.’ He was the only one tough enough to follow.

How does a screenwriter write a few scenes to introduce characters? Perhaps all writers should study RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION.

The screenplay by Mark Protosevich gives us a group of silly characters to cheer for when the “rogue wave” hits: An unhappy filthy rich poker player and convenient former Naval officer, Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas), who is decadently handsome but miserable aboard the deluxe city-sized cruise ship. Self-satisfied, Johns uncharacteristically becomes the champion hero of strangers.

Former mayor and fireman Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell) is in a cabin suite with his insulting daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) and her boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel). If Ramsey is so obsessed with his 19-year-old daughter’s virginity, why did he allow her boyfriend to go along on the cruise?

Richard Dreyfuss’ character trait? Richard Nelson is one of those older rich gentlemen suddenly dumped by his rent boy friend. He’s a sad gay man who wants to commit suicide in his tuxedo when his former boyfriend will not take his call on New Year’s Eve!

There is a stowaway, Elena (Mia Maestro), the cousin of a waiter, Valentin (Freddy Rodriguez). (I have been on a cruise to Antarctica. Slipping Elena onboard is a lazy script ploy to get a minority character on the ship without paying.)

What? Isn’t this racist filmmaking? And wait until you see what happens to a hapless busboy who knows the way out of the ballroom!

Then there is a 9-year-old boy Conor (Jimmy Bennett) and his snippy single mother (Jacinda Barrett). And finally there is Lucky Larry (Kevin Dillon), who, since he is wearing LOUD clothes and swigging vodka, is meant to be the Poseidon’s token fool who makes everybody else look like Saints-On-A-Cruise.

Topping off the list of characters is the incompetent Captain Bradford (Andre Braugher) who locks every New Year’s Eve reveler in the ballroom as the Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie fakes singing. They are all doomed to death. With a cruise of 7,000 passengers, these few are singled out for us to follow.

Where were the drunk-on-absinthe teenagers crawling over 80 year old passengers in wheelchairs?

The script is lousy but the special effects, underwater scenes, and the rogue wave are fantastic. The ship itself is a marvel. I loved the images and the expertise of director Wolfgang Petersen and his technical crew. The relentless water pouring into the ship is brilliant. Petersen knows how to create fascinating ship destruction scenes, but he is weak with character development. He needed a better script here.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Screenwriter: Mark Protosevich
Based on the novel by: Paul Gallico
Producers: Wolfgang Petersen, Duncan Henderson, Mike Fleiss, Akiva Goldsman
Executive producers: Kevin Burns, Jon Jashni, Sheila Allen, Benjamin Waisbren
Director of photography: John Seale
Production designer: William Sandell
Music: Klaus Badelt
Co-producers: Todd Arnow, Kimberly Miller, Chris Briggs
Costume designer: Erica Edell Phillips
Editor: Peter Honess
Visual effects supervisor: Boyd Shermis
Special effects supervisor: John Frazier

Dylan Johns: Josh Lucas
Robert Ramsey: Kurt Russell
Richard Nelson: Richard Dreyfuss
Jennifer Ramsey: Emmy Rossum
Maggie James: Jacinda Barrett
Christian: Mike Vogel
Elena: Mia Maestro
Conor James: Jimmy Bennett
Captain Bradford: Andre Braugher
Lucky Larry: Kevin Dillon
Valentin: Freddy Rodriguez
Gloria: Stacy Ferguson

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