DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Poseidon - DVD Review

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</script></div>{/googleAds}A hulking behemoth of a celluloid monster, Poseidon, is the more elephantine of the two progeny to spring from the pages of Paul Gallico's 1972 book, The Poseidon Adventure. The first, starring Shelly Winters, Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine, came out of the 1970s disaster film camp along with such other classics as Airport, Earthquake, Avalanche! and Irwin Allen's, The Towering Inferno. In this version, Wolfgang Peterson ups the ante on the visuals quite significantly by utilizing today's cgi capabilities. But unfortunately for lovers of the first version who wanted to see a remake done right, he forgets about the human part of the tragedy.

The Poseidon is over twenty stories tall, sporting 800 staterooms scattered around thirteen passenger decks. She's truly a beautiful ship but clearly cgi-rendered. Was it not possible to use a real cruise liner for the exterior shots? Has computer-rendering technology not advanced much past 1997 when Titanic was rendered with much more realism?

As the ship's guests are gathered in the main ballroom toasting the coming of the New Year while Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas belts out a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, the Chief Officer is watching a massive rogue wave measuring over 150 feet high. Before he can get the ship into the best position to take on the wave, it hits with a force so powerful, the boat rolls completely upside-down. Amid fires, high-voltage wires and a crumbling structure, the survivors gather in the still mostly intact ballroom that acts as a giant bubble of air, sustaining those passengers not already killed in the destruction.

Josh Lucas stars as Dylan a professional card player determined to find a way out of the ship, which he believes, will sink before help arrives. A small group of passengers joins Dylan, including 8-year-old Connor (Jimmy Benett), his mother (Jacinda Barrett), Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell) a former firefighter, his daughter and her boyfriend (Emmy Rossum and Mike Vogel), and a suicidal middle-aged gay man (Richard Dreyfuss).

The group makes its way to the bottom of the ship, which is actually now up. But their passage is blocked by debris, fires and of course water. Lots of water. As the director of The Perfect Storm and Das Boot, Peterson is admittedly attracted to water films and from the action bits in Poseidon, he definitely knows his way around a flooded back lot. But both of those films succeeded because they were about the people on the boat, not the boat itself. Poseidon seems happiest when blowing something up or when killing off movie actors one by one. Screenwriter Mark Protosevich's anemic script makes the film an exposition of the most brutal ways to kill people, rather than a story of what humans can do in moments of tragedy. And for this reason, Poseidon only works for the 99-minutes we're watching the film. Once we leave the Cineplex, the fun's over and we go about our evening.

Poseidon is a smorgasbord of special effects - both the conventional and computer-generated varieties. But even the best classic horror and disaster movies of the 50s knew that what made us care about the story was who was being killed, not so much what was doing the killing.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; featurettes.

* Featurettes
o Poseidon: A ship on a Soundstage - A look at the sets used fo the film.
o Poseidon: Upside Down - How they created the wrecked ship.
o Rogue Waves - History Channel documentary
o A Shipmate's Diary - Film student's on-set video diary of the film's production.
* Trailer - The original theatrical trailer for Poseidon.

Number of discs: - 2- Keepcase Packaging


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