'The Poseidon Adventure (2005)' Review: A Three Hour Disaster
So in our Kulturecast on Wednesday, we reviewed the 1972 version of The Poseidon Adventure, based on the book by Paul Gallico. It starred Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine, and covered the capsizing of a cruise ship in the Atlantic ocean. In 2005, NBC decided to remake the film in a "made for TV" version. This version starred Adam Baldwin, famous for his portrayal of Jayne from Firefly, alongside Rutger Hauer of Blade Runner fame. Today I was supposed to review Firestorm, but since I was unable to find a copy, I decided to review this film. At the time of my decision, I didn't realize it was three hours long. I'm an idiot.
The plot of the film is similar to the original, with a cruise liner capsizing and a group of survivors trying to work their way to the most likely escape point. One of the characters is a reverend. Thats as far as the similarities go. In this version the ship capsizes because of islamic extremist terrorists, because that was in demand in the early 2000s. Adam Baldwin plays Rogo, but instead of a vacationing police detective he plays a homeland security agent trying to protect the ship. Mrs. Rosen, played by Sylvia Sims, and her husband has been dead for some time before the events of the film. The feature adds a garbage load of new characters as well, from soldiers, to terrorists, to film producers and a couple working through relationship troubles. The male member of which is cast by Steve Guttenberg, otherwise known as Mahoney in Police Academy. This ensemble cast of relatively well known but not remarkable talent attempts to escape the capsized vessel, with Reverand Scott leading them in their plans and Rogo actually managing to be mildly helpful. Rogo spends the first hour of the film trying to stop the potential terrorist plot, but once the bombs are detonated and Peter Weller is killed, he is relegated toward protecting the passengers. Some characters stay in the ballroom, where they do not die immediately as in the 1972 version.
The acting in the film is acceptable but not exceptional, with the actors and actresses portraying believable characters. Unfortunately, the excessive cast of characters, along with the piece's desire to show the American government's attempts at stopping the terrorist plot, water down the film. This dilution is largely responsible for the three hour run time, and adds little in the way of interesting story. The story line following the passengers in the dining room does not help to speed up the pacing of the film either. The one advantage this film has over the original is it's more recent level of visual effects, yet at times the production company fails to take advantage of the technology available to them. RPG detonations appear to be simple air cannon bursts. Some of the water effects are decent, but in 1972 they used real water to flood compartments, and digital animation is incapable of comparing to real effects. The fire is typical early 2000s digital effects, which means they suck.
All in all I would have to say that this movie blows. It's an hour extension of a two hour movie from 1972. It tries to use modern special effects to create a more dramatic disaster, but unfortunately the film seemed to spend more money on a large cast of B listers than it did on the effects company, and so we are treated to poorly animated flames, explosions with no scale to reality, and water that does not seem to be threatening. My final say is to avoid this film, and if you really want to watch a boat capsize, watch the original. It's better, but as with most of the films we've watched this month, that isn't really saying anything.
Final Say: Skip It