I am a big fan of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE and was eager to see director Wolfgang Petersenís take on the same tale, not to mention seeing the story told with state of the art special effects. Now to be honest POSEIDON ($35) isnít a bad little action/adventure/disaster movie, but it canít shine the shoes of the original film, even with some terrific digital special effects. The biggest problem with POSEIDON is the filmís all-too-brief ninety-eight minute running time. With such a short running time, POSEIDON barely has the opportunity to sketch out its narrative, leaving character development to be virtually non-existent. If you donít know the characters, you donít care about the characters, and if you donít care about the charactersÖ well, that pretty much sucks almost all the suspense out of the filmís life and death situations. As for Wolfgang Petersenís contributionsÖ well, POSEIDON isnít THE PERFECT STORM, but the special effects are just as cool as they were on his earlier directorial effort.
The premise of POSEIDON is virtually identical to the original film, although the characters completely different. During the New Yearís Eve celebration on board the ocean liner Poseidon an enormous rogue wave capsizes the cruise ship shortly after midnight. A small band of those who survive the shipís overturning realize their only chance of surviving the Poseidonís inevitable sinking is to climb up into the lower decks, which are still above the surface of the water. POSEIDON stars Kurt Russell as ex-firefighter and former New York City Mayor Robert Ramsey who goes from protecting his daughter Jennifer (Emmy Rossum) from the advances of her boyfriend Christian (Mike Vogel) to trying to keep all three of them alive long enough to escape the ship. Other stock character survivors include the roguish gambler Dylan Johns (Josh Lucas), suicidal jilted lover Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss), protective mother Maggie James (Jacinda Barrett) and her child in peril Conor (Jimmy Bennett). The cast of POSEIDON also features Andre Braugher, MŪa Maestro, Jimmy Bennett, Freddy RodrŪguez, Kevin Dillon, Kirk B.R. Woller, Stacy Ferguson, Kelly McNair and Gabriel Jarret.
Warner Home Video has made POSEIDON available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. As always, Warner delivers the goods in terms a marvelous visual presentation. This is another superb looking transfer that produces a sharp and very well defined image throughout. Colors are generally fully saturated and rich looking. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and the picture boasts good contrast and fine shadow detail. The elements from which POSEIDON has been transferred appear virtually pristine. Digital compression artifacts are very well concealed throughout.
POSEIDON comes with a top-notch Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that is aggressively mixed and makes the most of all the discrete channels. Sounds are distinctly defined and move around the soundstage effortlessly to create convincing sonic environments. Fidelity is very strong, with both the musical sound effects components coming across with a genuine sense of presence. Dialogue is well reproduced and maintains complete intelligibility. The bass channel is full, deep and produces nice rumble, shudder and explosions. French and Spanish 5.1 channel tracks is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this set. Disc one features Poseidon: A Ship On A Soundstage, a twenty-two minute look behind-the-scenes, with a specific emphasis on the elaborate sets created to simulate the capsized ocean liner.
Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming. Poseidon: Upside Down a ten-minute elaboration on the program from disc one with more discussion from members of the production team. A Shipmateís Diary is a twelve-minute video diary created by Wolfgang Petersenís assistant Malona P. Voight during the production of the film. Finally, Rogue Waves is a twenty-eight minute program from The History Channel that examines the real life phenomena that capsizes our fictional cruise ship.
While it lacks the power of an all-star cast that made seventies era disaster movies so much fun and skimps on characterization, POSEIDON offers plenty of action movie eye candy and a great soundtrack, thus making it a better DVD than a theatrical presentation. If youíre like me and loved THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, Iím sure curiosity will get the better of you and youíll want to check out POSEIDON on DVD for yourself.
reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied
or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.