The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

(On Cable TV, February 2018) Considering my criticism of the Poseidon remake, I find it almost amusing that much of what I don’t like about the original The Poseidon Adventure is what didn’t work decades later. Much of the film feels like a repetitive loop as the survivors of a capsized cruise ship try to make their way out of the wreck: Encounter an obstacle, lose a member of the cast, and proceed to the next obstacle. There’s a high point during the initial disaster, and the plot does get slightly more interesting in the last half-hour, but much of The Poseidon Adventure feels too long and repetitive. The premise does have a whiff of originality to it (arguably extinguished by the remake), and it’s mildly interesting to see Leslie Nielsen pop up in what could have been a major role in any other movie. Otherwise, Gene Hackman is not bad as a priest questioning his own faith, and Ernest Borgnine makes for a capable foil throughout the ensuing adventures. The special effects are occasionally good, although the CGI achievements of the sequel clearly outshine the original in that area. There is a characteristic early-seventies feel to the entire film that some viewers will like. As for which version is better I’m curiously ambivalent—I usually prefer the originals on ideological grounds, but what I’m finding here is that the original The Poseidon Adventure doesn’t have much to recommend over its remake.

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