Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Emmy Rossum, and Jacinda
Barrett star in a film written by Mark Protosevich, based on the
novel by Paul Gallico, and directed by Wolfgang

Reviewed by D.J. Palladino

Critics excuse our lurid fascination with disaster films by
claiming the genre provides a gaze into the human condition while
said humans are under considerable pressure. The formerly great
Wolfgang Petersen has virtually stripped character from this film,
or at least shrunk the exposition of it down to a few semaphore
signals, so this is more like a soft-core porn film in which the
ridiculous plot has been virtually excised.

To be fair, Warner Bros. is the studio of bean-counting,
give-the-people-what-they-want thrills nowadays. Half an hour into
the movie, the giant (virtually unexplained) CGI wave is hulking
over the bow and the watch captain has said, “Oh my god.” Then the
fun begins; featuring lots of death, no blood, and a little boy
who, perhaps for the first time in cinema history, seems amply

The original Poseidon Adventure from 1972, which engendered a
campy stage musical, was the first disaster flick to make the
question of who dies seem unpredictable to answer. (Spoiler alert:
This film likes picking off minorities, illegal immigrants, and
drunks.) The big advantage(s) Poseidon has over its predecessor is
sloe-eyed Emmy Rossum and her décolletage — it wasn’t just a
Phantom of the Opera thing. Maybe it’s a lurid thrill, but it’s
much more enjoyable than watching Shelley Winters swim into the
arms of Ernest Borgnine.


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