The Poseidon Adventure

Released: December 13, 1972
Budget: $5 million
US Box Office: $93 million
Global Box Office: NA

Director: Ronald Neame
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: "You irresponsible bastard"

Review: 3.5 stars

Widely considered a classic in the disaster genre, The Poseidon Adventure lives up to its own hype. The suspense is real, the pacing is good, and the cast is great in this movie that entertains from start to finish.

One concern that I usually have with older movies is how the effects have aged. I'm happy to say that the visuals in The Poseidon Adventure hold up remarkably well. Shipwrecks don't require big CG and the upside down sets deliver a nice mix of vertigo and claustrophobia. That said, the strength of this movie is undoubtedly its cast. Forgoing tried and true genre character-types like the young hotshot, the wise old guy, the know it all scientist, etc, this movie presents us with a Reverend who doesn't take shit from anyone, a detective and his ex-prostitute wife, a brave chubby old woman, a depressed middle-aged bachelor, a brave chubby old woman, and others. Each character has his or her little quirks and most everyone gets a few awesome one liners. In a refreshing change from most movies in the genre, it's not immediately apparent who will live or die. It's hard to pin down exactly what makes some ensemble casts work and other fall so flat, but this one definitely gets it right.

The corny script may be the movies one major flaw, but that is also the source of a lot of its charm. There is enough real suspense where the movie never gets too campy and the whole experience feels more real and is far more original than Wolfgang Peterson's big budget sequel. I whole-heartedly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to see a classic 70s flick that still serves as a benchmark in the disaster movie genre.