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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Poseidon - SPOILER WARNING

I was pre-disposed and the director used that to his advantage. Unlike Superman, which was sunk by the baggage, Poseidon got tricky with it. I loved the original Poseidon Adventure, watching it on TV as a kid several times. It was a star studded cast, most notabley Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, and Red Buttons. In my memory, at least, Shelley was a pathetic, annoying woman who did a long underwater swim. As I recall she wasn’t a survivor (but I have a bad memory. It could be I just didn’t want her to survive).

In these survivor movies, the director introduces his characters (in this movie a little too fast and formulaic in my opinion, but it served…) and the audience makes its list of who lives and who dies. In a remake, you also try to match up who is playing who in the update. (Incidentally, I really like every one of the actors in this cast – the main reason I saw it.)

My list was:

Josh Lucas: He’s going to live.

Kurt Russell: He’s going to die.

Richard Dryfus: He’s tricky. As a jilted gay man who wants to kill himself, he could well be a twist on the pathetic Shelley Winters character. While it would be ironic if he lived (since he originally wanted to die) I thought he was going to die, heroically. The director really played on this. Richard ended up being Red Buttons. Fooled me.

The Boyfriend: I was figuring he would live, but thought he could die. Wasn’t sure. Again, the director played well on this.

The Daughter: Absolutely has to live.

The Mother: Also has to live.

The Little Boy: Absolutely-absotively has to live.

The Stowaway: I (forgive the expression) missed the boat on this one. I thought she’d live, because she had reason to live (her sick brother). Her claustrophobia edged her over to pathetic, though, but by THAT time I was convinced Richard was Shelley.

The Crewman and Lucky Larry may as well have worn red shirts ala Star Trek, because you knew they’d be the first to go. (Do NOT like the way the crewman went. Understand the choice, just disagree with it.)

Because of the rinky-dink start, I thought we had a poor director. Again, I think he used that well, because from then on I was underestimating him. By giving the stowaway good reason to live, I figured Dryfus had to die. So much so that when the stowaway lay there getting mouth-to-mouth I figured she had to come to. It was a race through the first and second act to see which would live and which would die – Dryfus or the girl. By making it the stowaway who died, the director was putting everyone on notice. “See? She had reason to live and she didn’t live! No one’s safe!” From that moment on, this movie was a winner. If he could kill her, then he could kill the kid (but, no, not really. Movies haven’t changed that much…)

In my opinion, there was only one major flaw (besides the convenient raft beside their departure tube – better would have been a ton of life boats. All empty.)… and that flaw was magnified by the strong cast. Where this movie was weak was finding the humor. You’ve got Dryfus, who is one of the funniest actors available, Russell and Lucas who are both very comedically talented, and the daughter (don’t know her name, sorry) who had a flair for it as well. Yes, it’s a disaster movie, but humor finds its way into anything, and the director should have trusted his actors to find the balance. As a result, the movie was good, but not great… and I think it could have been great.

Characters: C+ (they had to be stock characters, but these actors could all deliver more)
Director: B
Story: B+
Effects: C+
Overall: B

2 comments:

damaris said...

well, it seems you actually have 3 readers. just to let you know.

malissa said...

Malissa (see Rob's note on the home school blog)
Rob, are you ready to go on another cruise yet? I hear the Titanic is making a come back!;)