Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sink or Swim?! (It sank...)

If one MUST see "Poseidon", as I did, then you MUST see it via the IMAX Experience! Watching and hearing it blown up into celluloid-steroid freaky proportions is the ONLY way you're gonna get through this. The opening credits are a visual wonder! Our 'tour' of the ship is a production designer's wet dream! In fact, one would have to say that the only outstanding improvement over the 1972 original is the size of the ship. It. Is. GINORMOUS!!! The main lobby is a spectacle unto itself. However, Wolfgang Peterson has stripped any humor, camp and joy out of what should have been a rollercoaster of a remake. Where to start? (At the very beginning, a very good place to start.)

Whereas in most disaster flicks we are allowed to get to actually KNOW the characters and victims before the BIG MOMENT, Wolfgang gives us about a 10 minute introduction, which doesn't develop the characters as much as give us a list of faces and who is related to who. Sadly, with the exception of Kurt Russell (who should NOT be viewed under the scrutiny of 'the IMAX Experience' now), Richard Dreyfuss and Josh Lucas (who I kept mistaking for Kevin Costner, which is not a good thing), these are relatively new and nearly unrecognizable faces, so some characterization would have been VERY helpful! Unlike what I have been led to believe about cruise ships, there are not any women over 30 aboard the Poseidon. Who KNEW how hip it is to be cruising with the young and wealthy?! (The scenic addition of a disco and casino is sort of a nice touch.)

So after a brief introduction to future and possible victims, Wolfgang and his ARMY of CGI artists capsize the boat. Even this was a bit disappointing. The editing was so hectic and violent that I wasn't really sure what I was seeing at times. The original's comparitively slow pans and dollies of the victims as they tripped across the floor, slid along the wall and fell from the floor to the ceiling, led you step-by-step through the process. Also, the reliance on physical special effects lent even more credibility to the event. Wolfgang and his ARMY of CGI artists are so busy trying to impress with so many areas of the ship and so many angles of the exterior that there were moments when I got confused as to where in the process of capsizing the thing we were at.

The older white men then gather our nubile young women to begin the climb. Oh, a hispanic couple are brought along as sort of an afterthought. Never during the entire 99 minutes do any of these people crack a joke at the outrageous situation they find themselves. (Remember Stella Stevens? Even Carol Lynley found a moment or two!) But then these are not the most notable group of actors, but they swim well. Had Dreyfuss been given a LITTLE more to do, he might have come up with some kind of moment. However, Wolfgang and his ARMY of CGI artists are more concerned with the video game aspect of leaping across fiery spanses, climbing incredibly ridiculous shafts and swimming, swimming and more swimming. Each death is pretty souless, as you don't know who that character really is to begin with. And there isn't anytime to grieve anyway, as we must advance to the Next Level.

In short, not worth a rental, maybe worth a bargain matinee on the LARGEST screen you can find.


Maxxxxx said...

"Time for shower!"

Heidi said...

Hysterical review. Why watch the movie when your review held the humor the movie lacked. Also, what was the name of that splunker movie that made the grown men scream? I was trying to tell someone about it.

JimmyD said...

I JUST broke the seal on my MASSIVE 'Poseidon Adventure' DVDset.
I'll settle for that instead.

Heidi? The movie that made JayCBird wet himself like an infant (I merely screamed like a nine year old) is 'The Descent.' No known US release date but if you have an all region DVD player, and you really should, it's available from Amazon UK.

Markosf said...

Poseidon was a dud. I so didn't care who lived or died- I take that back. I wanted them all to die. Richard Dreyfus looked dead already -scarey! It only served to make the original more of a classic.