To its credit, Wolfgang Petersen's $160 million remake of the disaster-movie classic THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) moves briskly, running a solid 20 minutes shorter than the original. Unfortunately, all the time saved comes out of the movie's front end, so while it delivers a first-rate spectacle of destruction — viewers with low thresholds for claustrophobic spaces, relentlessly encroaching water and live electrical wires whipping around like angry snakes, be warned — the film's computer-generated ordeals by fire and water are battled by a soggy collection of broadly drawn characters. Petersen brings on the big wave fast and hard: We've barely met them — looking-out-for-No. 1 gambler Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas); suicidal gay architect Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss); single mom Maggie James (Jacinda Barrett) and her precocious brat (Jimmy Bennett); drunken jerk Lucky Larry (Kevin Dillon); stowaway Elena (Mia Maestro) and the waiter (Freddy Rodriguez) with whom she's bunking for passage; former New York City mayor/overprotective daddy Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell); his daughter, Jennifer (Emmy Rossum); and the boyfriend (Mike Vogel) to whom she doesn't dare admit she's engaged — when they and the rest of the luxury liner Poseidon's human cargo are rudely tipped ass-over-tea-kettle and left scrambling in the upside-down wreckage. The captain (Andre Braugher) encourages survivors to remain with him in the main ballroom, now several stories under the ocean's surface, until help arrives. But lone wolf Dylan prefers to climb to the bottom of the ship and crawl out through one of the propeller tubes, and he quickly acquires a small entourage. They follow him through one trial after another, each according to his or her one-note nature: Lucky Larry blusters, Elena and Jennifer scream, Mama Maggie protects her cub, Richard faces down misery with wry, self-deprecating humor, and alpha dogs Dylan and Ramsey bark and snap before learning to pull together as a team. Despite the economy of characterization, there still weren't enough traits to go around, so Jennifer's handsome young man and Elena's ticket to ride are thrown into the breach empty-handed. The groaning, wallowing Poseidon has more colors, as actors like to say. Overall it's slick, brainless entertainment, but brainless entertainment built on crushed and waterlogged corpses that, state-of-the-art action notwithstanding, never achieves the emotional heft of the first film's iconic scene: Stalwart, tubby Jewish granny Shelley Winters gamely looking fear in the face and swimming through a narrow, fully flooded corridor with no CGI assistance whatsoever.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: To its credit, Wolfgang Petersen's $160 million remake of the disaster-movie classic THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) moves briskly, running a solid 20 minutes shorter than the original. Unfortunately, all the time saved comes out of the movie's front end, so… (more)