Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hard To Starboard!

It is a movie about a ship that is overturned by a rogue wave and sinks, of course I saw it. Unlike the original ‘The Poseidon Adventure’, ‘Poseidon’ cuts to the chase. 1972 saw as much character development as possible in a movie that involves a ship without enough ballast that flips over.

Shelley Winters and her husband were off to visit family after retirement, Pamela Sue Martin and Eric Shea played the bickering brother and sister, Ernest Borgnine and Stella Stevens were brilliant as the cop and his former hooker wife Linda while Red Buttons played the lonely book store owner who was very conscious of his health. Gene Hackman was the savior of the day, hero Reverend Frank Scott, who had to contend with Caorl Lynley’s basket case Nonnie Parry.

We also learned that greedy ship owners want to get Poseidon to the scrap yard as soon as possible. They refuse to take on ballast to stabilize the ship as this will slow things down. There is a brief lesson on underwater earthquakes and the creation of the killer wave. Robin Shelby has been poking around the ship for days and knows how to get to the bottom and out to freedom.

Fast forward to 2006. New Year’s Eve, ship at sea, big wave, ship upside down, people start to die. The reverend is now the former mayor of New York, the brother and sister are now a single mother and son (who is a whiny little basket case next to Eric Shea) the bookworm is replaced by a gay architect (what is more 2006?) and Shelley Winters is replaced by Mike Vogel in the famous “I used to be on the swim team” scene. Nice try Mike, trying to steal Shelley’s thunder. Sure you look good in a wet t-shirt and jeans, but it is nothing when compared to Lady Winter’s heart attack.

While I admit there are no Oscar winning performances in it, Poseidon is great for what it is – an action movie. I, for one, was glad that we didn’t spend and hour and a half building up characters and love stories (can anyone say Titanic?) but got straight to the goods. And seeing it in IMAX was incredible!

There were some similarities to the original; the grand piano bolted to the floor (ceiling?) with someone safely tucked underneath it while mayhem ensues, the fire on the water and Auld Lang Syne being belted out as disaster strikes. But it is updated too. The cast is ethnic (mind you the two Hispanic characters meet rather gruesome deaths and the interracial couple of the captain and lounger singer die in each others arms. Fag lives though.) Poseidon is a super new luxury liner so there is loads to blow up and, thankfully, the ship actually sinks in the end. There will be no disaster like ‘Beyond The Poseidon Adventure’ (Telly Savalas, what were you thinking?) unless there was a really big air pocket somewhere.

This is one for the big screen. Get into T.S.D. (temporary suspension of disbelief) mode and enjoy. And keep on eye out for the tap dancing penguin on the iceberg at the end.


Blogger Callooh said...

T.S.D. - brillant state to be in, you see enough kid's movies, it becomes automatic and almost permanent.

don't think I will see this one, not even for the wet shirt and jeans, because I agree nothing could beat that heart attack death scene - "I got this for hold my breath for 2minutes! 2minutes!" - or something like that, anything else would just be wrong....

12:55 PM  
Blogger nash said...

and who could forget Roddy McDowell in the original?

6:50 AM  

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