I must admit I have a soft spot in my heart for disaster films that are themselves disasters. It makes my job easy. "Poseidon" is that film skeptics were hoping "Titanic" would be when pre-release reports of big budgets and on-set problems made us all giddy with anticipation for the opportunity to torch James Cameron and his big-spending ways. Alas, that opportunity passed like so many ships in the night. Fortunately, "Poseidon" is here to float our comedic boat. Take your pick:
a. "Poseidon" drowns in bad dialogue.
b. About the time the big wave hits Poseidon, a big wave of nausea hits the audience.
c. It does one thing right: sea sickness.
d. There's no lifesaver in the world that's going to keep this thing from sinking.
e. "Poseidon" is more than a little bit dingy.
f. All hands on deck for major suckage.
g. A lot more than ballast tanks on this dud.
h. Any chance this film has is washed away by its own ineptitude.
i. The only thing more waterlogged than the boat is the concept.
I could go on, but I'll run out of room. At a mere 99 minutes, it was obvious this film was in trouble before it even started. What gets sacrificed here is character development and dialogue. When the film tries to do either, it's mostly an inadvertent comedy. And in case you want to try and predict who's going to die first, go in reverse order of the credits and their importance to the story and you can't go wrong. When Robert Ramsey (Kurt Russell), his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum), her boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel), Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas), Maggie James (Jacinda Barrett), her son Conor (Jimmy Bennett), Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss), Elena Gonzalez (Mia Maestro) and Marco Valentin (Freddy Rodriguez) are all trying to cross an empty elevator shaft, you know poor Freddy is doomed. Seriously, a friend and I played this game throughout the film and were rarely wrong.
And since there are essentially two male leads, we also predicted (more than half an hour before it happened) that one of them would sacrifice himself to save the others. We certainly hoped it would be Ramsey. He's the former mayor of New York. He's a former fire fighter. He has issues with his daughter's budding sexuality. Hell, he's so old-fashioned, you wish somebody would just tie a cement block to his leg and get it over with.
The only star in this film is the water. The faster it got into the boat, the faster "Poseidon" was going to be over, which is why I rooted for it.
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