Wednesday, May 10, 2006

POSEIDON goes Popsidedown again

Cast: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum and Jacinda Barrett
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Time: 98 mins
Rating: * * ½
The passengers seeking a way out of the sinking ship
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? A luxury cruise liner goes ‘Popsidedown’ after it is hit by a huge tidal wave early one New Year’s Day. We follow some of the ship’s passengers who are determined to make it to the top (err, or bottom, actually) of the vessel so that they can be rescued. This is Petersen’s remake of Irwin Allen’s 1972 The Poseidon Adventure which, arguably, launched the disaster movie genre.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Coming from the guy who gave us Das Boot and The Perfect Storm, the sets and f/x are more spectacular than the 1972 original and viewers can be assured of a ‘helluva’ ride. However, Petersen seems to be rushing into the disaster scenario too fast without developing the human angles properly. For example, career gambler Dylan (Lucas), who has been a selfish loner all his life, suddenly transforms into a self-sacrificing hero overnight. What makes him tick?
Russell’s worried father in search of his estranged daughter (Rossum) and her boyfriend (Mike Vogel) is slightly more convincing. But then, considering the thousands of passengers on board, there is nothing very special or tragic about Russell’s Robert Ramsay, except that he is a former fireman and New York mayor. Which explains his courage but does not enhance the emotional impact.

HIGHLIGHTS: It’s New Year’s Eve, see? So the cast are in their tuxes and evening gowns -- which offer an eyeful whenever the ladies have to negotiate their way around tight places. Also, the Biblical connotations of the 1972 version have been expunged, leaving a straightforward disaster plot.

LOWLIGHTS: The long underwater sequences stretch credibility a bit too far. How can those guys hold their breath for so long under such conditions?

THE LOWDOWN? If you have seen the more superior 1972 version, this one is not going to give you nightmares.


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