The morbid pleasures of Poseidon (2006)
The remake Poseidon begins well, but it views like Titanic in reverse. Many of the best disaster scenes occur right towards the beginning, and director Wolfgang Peterson (of Das Boot fame) has difficulty maintaining a plausible tone as a small band of random people try to work their way up the inverted ship.
In other words, the top notch production values keep getting undermined by the B movie script. Early on we meet Kurt Russell as Robert Ramsey concerned about his petulant daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) sneaking off to sleep with her boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel). Josh Lucas stars as Dylan Johns, the handsome lone gambler who initially doesn’t care about anyone else, but reluctantly teams up with Robert and a few others to climb out of the ballroom before the water comes crashing through the windows. I’ve seen Josh Lucas star in four films now (along with Stealth,
As our band of misfits work their way up to the disco and into an elevator shaft and beyond, they take moments to introduce themselves to each other with poignancy as the rising water rushes them along. They run into masses of dead bodies killed by a flash fire “that burns the lungs like rice paper,” according to former fireman Robert. As the ship contracts around them, they keep getting stuck. Fortunately, they all retain a plentiful supply of working flashlights so that we can see, and director Peterson makes sure that there is plenty of fire for good mood lighting and the occasional heart-wrenching death to remind us what is at stake. Young Christian asks his girlfriend to “just tell me that you love me” before what looks like a certain suicide mission underwater as her conflicted father looks on.
Will they make it before the ballast tanks flood? What will happen to the boy separated from his mother by a metal grate as the water floods his chamber? How many thefts from Titanic can the audience spot? I can’t say, but I confess I preferred the mass death of the beginning to the trite melodrama that came later.