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Poseidon : Two-Disc Special Edition (DVD)

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Caffeinated Clint
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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

The film looks and sounds a treat on DVD (I suppose it has to, otherwise there wouldn’t be much to recommend about it at all), but the extras package is possibly even prettier: There are three featurettes, all rather interesting. One of them takes a look at how they crafted the amazing upside-down sets and flip-over sequences, another is a home movie that was apparently filmed by a film school internet on the set, and thirdly, and most prominently, there’s a History Channel special about the phenomenon of ‘rogue waves’ – a desperate addition, that has little to do with the film, but interesting-enough nonetheless. There’s also a 20-minute making of – featuring interviews with the cast and crew – that can be found on the first disc.


Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett

Let’s be honest, “Poseidon” was bound to sink from the moment it leave port.

It didn’t matter that it had a bigger roster of stars than Elton John’s post-Oscars Party, it didn’t matter that it had an accomplished director behind the lens, and it didn’t matter that the production office was well-stocked in wind machines…. Not when you’re a remake of a grand old disaster movie like Irwin Allen’s 70s epic.

When you’re a re-trace of an old-Hollywood original, you’re never sailing on smooth waters – regardless of how inconsequential a film you’ve decided to replicate. Simple as that. Not only is the audience usually not peckish enough for seconds – and with DVD, the original is still readily available to them, so it seems redundant to do it again – but they’ve been scalded so many times with gratuitous seconds, that they know, by now, that the ‘new one’ is never going to be as flavoursome as the first. And in the case of “Poseidon”, not even a high-powered microwave can cook it right through.

Remember this one? A huge “Titanic” like boat flips, after hitting a giant tidal wave. Several of the passengers decide to band together and climb to the top of the boat – or, in this case, the bottom of the ship – to get to safety. In this case, they include a former fire fighting Mayor (Kurt Russell), his daughter (Emmy Rossum) and future son-in-law (Mike Vogel), a gay old-timer (Richard Dreyfuss), a boastful gambler (Josh Lucas), a single mother (Jacinda Barrett) and her son (Jimmy Bennett), and a pain-in-the-ass booze-swigging card-shark (Kevin Dillon). (Note: Thankfully, this isn’t exactly the same as the original, so there are some surprises when it comes to who makes it out, and who doesn’t.)

This isn’t a bad film, it isn’t. In fact, it’s quite entertaining, it has some marvellous special effects (the completely CGI boat looks extraordinary), some great actors in there (good to see Richard Dreyfuss back on screen, and Kurt Russell is always a pleasure to watch), and it’s hasty pace helps keep audiences interested.

Thing is, it just isn’t the original. Not talking about the performances (which, even in the original, were pretty wooden – so no big beef that they’re again pretty mediocre turns here too) or the plot, I’m talking mostly about the lack of detail that they’ve given the characters (who are they? Where are they going? What’s he to her? what’s her to him?), the pathetic dialogue (Andre Braugher cops the worst of it. Thankfully for him, he’s only in the film for the first ten minutes or so) and the missed opportunities it showcases.

So what gives? I’m thinking that Peterson (“The Perfect Storm”, “Troy”) may have decided not to remake “Poseidon Adventure”, as such, but the Stallone clunker “Daylight” (1996) – which focused on a group of strangers who band together to escape a flooding tunnel – which isn’t something that’d take much to improve on. If so, he’s succeeded. This is a much grander scale film than that.

“Poseidon” arrives on DVD in – surprisingly enough, since it doesn’t really warrant it – a two-disc special edition.

The film looks and sounds a treat on DVD (I suppose it has to, otherwise there wouldn’t be much to recommend about it at all), but the extras package is possibly even prettier: There are three featurettes, all rather interesting. One of them takes a look at how they crafted the amazing upside-down sets and flip-over sequences, another is a home movie that was apparently filmed by a film school internet on the set, and thirdly, and most prominently, there’s a History Channel special about the phenomenon of ‘rogue waves’ – a desperate addition, that has little to do with the film, but interesting-enough nonetheless. There’s also a 20-minute making of – featuring interviews with the cast and crew – that can be found on the first disc.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris

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