Poseidon

Released: May 12, 2006
Budget: $160 million
US Box Office: $61 million
Global Box Office: $182 million

Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Cast: Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Emmy Rossum, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Mía Maestro, Mike Vogel

Synopsis: A rogue wave capsizes a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the ocean.
Best Quote: "Shake him off!"

Review: 2 stars

With Poseidon, Warner Bros. really tried to hedge its bets by adapting a disaster classic and liberally borrowing plot elements from the highest grossing movie of all time. The result is a movie that does a lot of things right but ultimately doesn't have much of an identity of its own.

One thing that water based disaster movies always have going for them is the fact that drowning is possibly the scariest form of death. Director Wolfgang Peterson does well to capture this terror and the underwater scenes are consistently the most captivating for the audience. The rest of the action is visually impressive but nothing that we haven't seen before. Sure, the ship is upside down this time, but that doesn't mean that we haven't seen all of this before in Titanic. The parallels between the two films are obvious, but unfortunately Poseidon is outclassed in just about every way imaginable. Of course, given the glory that is Titanic you can't really hold that against it.

In spite of its lack of originality, Poseidon is not without its moments. Survival instincts that lead some characters to work together drive others to pitiless self-preservation. Ethical dilemmas will have you wondering what you would do in the same circumstances. These moments keep things interesting until the film stumbles a bit under the weight of its own rinse and repeat storyline. It's always a risk that things will get a bit stale when all of the action follows the same group of people with a singular objective. Fortunately, things wrap up before the audience has a chance to get restless or bored.

At only 98 minutes, I can confidently recommend Poseidon to the disaster movie aficionado. Official runtimes include the credits (why??), so you'll be done with this one in a cool 1.5 hours. The action is fun, the mood is light, the upside down sets are cool, and Kurt Russell holds his own as a disaster hero. Hell, at the very least, you'll see what $160 million will buy you these days