Poseidon
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2

Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss. Action/adventure. Written by Mark Protosevich. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

FILM SYNOPSIS: When a rogue wave capsizes a luxury cruise ship, a career gambler (Josh Lucas) ignores the captains orders to wait below for possible rescue and sets out to find his own way to safety. Others join him, including a desperate father (Kurt Russell) searching for his daughter (Emmy Rossum) and her fianc (Mike Vogel), a single mother (Jacinda Barrett) and her wise-beyond-his-years 10-year-old (Jimmy Bennett), an anxious stowaway (Mia Maestro), and a despondent gay passenger (Richard Dreyfuss) whose lover wont return his cell phone calls.

PREVIEW REVIEW: In the 1970s moviegoers were thrilled by disaster movies such as Airport, Earthquake, The Towering Inferno and The Poseidon Adventure. Critics were not so thrilled. The corny sub-melodramas and the nonsensical dialogue made for an insufferable time for most movie reporters. Well, skip an era or two and a new generation of popcorn munchers is again being introduced to the epic disaster, thanks to Warner Bros., which is praying to Neptune that these new ticket buyers will be equally as thrilled as their ancestors. Alas, critics looking for a little listenable dialogue will just have to grit their teeth and silently count how often lines such as Oh my God and Its our only option are uttered by a straight-faced cast.

No stranger to disaster themes, director Wolfgang Petersen (Outbreak, The Perfect Storm) is given a hearty cast and a $175 million budget in order to sail fearlessly across the celluloid abyss with one intent: to once again satisfy the Coliseum mob. For despite the storys true catastrophe (the script itself), spectators still enjoy seeing the Christians thrown to the lions. Only in modern times, we not only see the not-so-good Catholic girls meet their doom for our amusement, but also middle-aged gay Jewish guys, and other assorted rainbow victims. The movie-going public doesnt seem concerned over the fate of the cardboard cutouts that stand in for human beings in disaster films. Theyve come, Jujubes in hand, to see the ingenious ways the lower-billed actors bite the big one (through electrocution, drowning or plunging from floor to ceiling - splat).

The remake stays close to the original, with updates in effects magic, character transformations and the updated moniker for tidal wave rogue wave. Richard Dreyfuss plays the Shelly Winters role, here morphed from overweight Jewish grandma to sensitive middle-aged gay guy. The Gene Hackman role of radical clergyman has become a gambling maverick played by Josh Lucas. And stalwart Kurt Russell is added as a rugged and overprotective father (hes also the ex-mayor of New York and an ex-fireman). More macho this guy could not get, evidently to make up for Josh Lucas, whose bid for action hero desperately depends on our suspension of disbelief and a three-day beard growth. (By the way, whens that look ever going to come to an end? Hes not a cowboy on the trail. Hes a gentleman gambler on a luxury ship, its New Years Eve and everyone in the high stakes poker game is tuxedoed, yet, hes sporting a three day beard. Bugs me.)

Poseidon is not meant to stimulate the intellect, but rather to provide thrills of a more visceral sort. If sweaty palms are any indication, then Id have to say, it succeeded in its objective: Damn the torpedoes (logic), full speed ahead! If, however, you do not wish to support a film where a main character profanes Gods name several times, then try renting my video alternative: A Night To Remember. This English 4-star version of the Titanic tragedy from Walter Lord's vivid and emotional novel is exceptional filmmaking. Made in 1958, it still holds up, containing great disaster spectacle and moving performances, while avoiding objectionable content.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Summary
Crude Language: One coarse and sexist fellow utters several objectionable statements, including 4 profane uses of Gods name before meeting an untimely end.
Obscene Language: 4 harsh words, 3 minor expletives.
Profanity: 4 times Gods name is followed by a curse. 4 or 5 oh my gods.
Violence: The intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril include people hurling to their deaths, drownings, electrocutions, etc. Dead bodies are seen floating throughout the film. Several lead characters die. Blood: Several people are bloodied by flying debris.
Sexual Intercourse: An engaged couple are caught nuzzling, but no graphic sexuality.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: A gay man is portrayed, but there are no sexual situations.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: One crude sexual comment.
Drug Abuse: Voyagers celebrate the New Year with lots of alcohol in one scene. A man drinks to excess, causing his demise.
Other: Theres one brief moment of symbolism as a crucifix is used to unscrew a medal grid, allowing the drowning group to escape to higher ground. Alas, its hard to attach any deep meaning to this otherwise shallow actioneer.
Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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