Poseidon (2006)

(In theaters, May 2006) I don’t think that many people were actively petitioning for a remake of the disaster-classic The Poseidon Adventure, but someone somewhere decided otherwise and suddenly threw 150 million dollars to Wolfgang Petersen to make it so. The end result is surprisingly dull: while the special effects are fabulous and the disaster is a workout for any decent theatre setup, it’s really hard to care for the moronic characters and their dwindling numbers. At least two of them die in entirely expected ways, raising barely more than a shrug: the pre-disaster characterization was reportedly left on the editing room floor, but I doubt that even compelling back-stories would have done much to enhance the episodic nature of Poseidon‘s running length. Characters try to get somewhere, see an obstacle and work their way through it (often losing one of their numbers in the process). Wash, rinse, repeat. Do we really want to see any of them succeed? Not really, and especially not when they’re as annoying as the kid who can’t stay put: it’s hard to cheer for characters whose cluelessness should be terminal. As the Poseidon finally sinks, so do most of our memories of the film. For all of ILM’s fantastic special effects (with a respectful nod at the fabulous all-digital opening shot), this is a straight-to-DVD film writ large, with bigger stars (including Kurt Russell, who rocks in anything) and slightly smoother dialogue. Looking at the sinking box-office results, the public seems to be in agreement. Pick it up in the bargain bin in a few months.

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