Tuesday 18th January 2022

Poseidon (12A)
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

As you may have guessed, this film is a remake of the 1972 classic, The Poseidon Adventure. However, sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who thinks the original is dreadful? I've tried to watch a number of the classic disaster films that were so popular in the 70s, and the only one I've managed to sit through was The Towering Inferno and by today's standards, that wasn't up to much.

Poseidon looks even prettier the right way up
Poseidon looks even prettier the right way up

So I suppose as annoying as remakes are, if you're going to remake something, it might as well be a film that was pretty bad the first time round.

The story of this remake sees a cast of random characters on board a luxurious cruise liner on New Year's Eve. The film makes some pretence at giving them all back stories, but the only one that really sticks in the mind is that of Richard Dreyfuss, and only because he sells it so well by, you know, being a good actor.

Of course, disaster strikes, in the form a giant "rogue" wave that tips the ship upside down. Some people call this capsizing. While most of the people on board (well, actually most of them are dead at this point, but most of the survivors) are happy to seal themselves in the ballroom and wait to be rescued, a small band of strangers decide to set off through the ship, onwards and upwards, in an attempt to escape through the bottom of the ship. Which is at the surface now.

It can get a bit confusing, but the whole upside down scenario does present some interesting situations and they've really made the most of the opportunities that this presents. It shouldn't go without saying that the sets in this film are fairly extraordinary too and even remind of M.C. Escher's drawings at times, with people walking the wrong way up staircases and the like.

So, once they leave the ballroom, our gang of intrepid escapees essentially face a series of set pieces in which they desperately try to figure out how to avoid drowning, burning, falling or, well, basically dying. Which brings me to this film's saving grace: several of the characters don't manage to come up with any answers and end up biting the dust, or in this case the water. I can't remember the last time I saw a cheesy action movie where so many of the protagonists die and in such great ways too. There is one scene in particular where one of the main characters is doing a spot of drowning that is so realistic I found it genuinely chilling and unpleasant.

I think the key to this success is partly due to the lack of character development. I found I cared so little about the characters that rather than not caring which of them survived, I couldn't wait to see which one would suffer a grisly demise next!

So overall, Poseidon is not a very good film, but it is at least enjoyable, it doesn't take itself seriously and it has enough bravery to kill off plenty of people and mark itself out from the crowd. As mindless disaster flicks go, this is way better than the classics.

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Length: 99 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 1st June 2006

Top Five Rating: 60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0%60.0% (60.0%)
User Rating: 0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0% (0.0%)

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