The Poseidon Adventure (2005)
★ / ★★★★
When the bomb that a group of terrorists planted on a luxury cruise ship went off, it caused the SS Poseidon to capsize. The survivors the story focused on were the ones who decided to find away to get out of the ship instead of those who waited to be rescued. Based on a novel by Paul Gallico, “The Poseidon Adventure” wasn’t compelling in any way because it was stripped of real human drama. There were a few very noticeable scenes that were missing. The crumbling marriage was a perfect example. The film didn’t show us the scene in which Richard (Steve Guttenberg) confessed to his wife (Alexa Hamilton) that he was having an affair with a masseuse (Nathalie Boltt) he met on board. Instead, we were left with the wife’s reaction after her husband had informed her. Naturally, she cried and there was yelling involved. Although we followed the Clarke family from beginning to end, we weren’t given the chance to become emotionally invested in them. Moreover, the terrorism angle felt forced and convoluted. A homeland security agent was supposed to be in charge of the safety of everyone on board. But I didn’t get the impression that he took his job seriously. There were shots of him looking serious while sitting in a corner and eventually pulling out his gun when it was so obvious that the terrorist was in front of him. I expected him to be a little more sleuth, like a real detective with thoughts in his brain, as opposed to a misunderstood, moody-looking teen. The scenes with one of the surviving terrorists felt like a poor excuse in trying to understand their psychology and, worse, their purpose. In the end, we learned nothing new. They planted the bomb because their superiors commanded them to do it. There was nothing enlightening about the ordeal so it should have been trimmed from the story. The picture should have been more focused on the individuals attempting to find an escape route. Sure, there were dead ends and they had to come up with alternative plans, but I wanted to see more of their physical struggles rather than watching the superiors in the Navy scrambling what they should do or not do. But I do have say that one of the lieutenants in charge of the rescue mission, Lieutenant Mercer (Matt Rippy), captured my interest. He was smart, calm, and commanded a confidence that was actually likable. I was surprised Rippy wasn’t cast as the husband because it seemed effortless for him to deliver charm and complexity paired with timing that felt right. Written by Bryce Zabel and directed by John Putch, “The Poseidon Adventure” was nonsensical, lacking in suspense, and lazy. The filmmakers’ idea of juggling its many characters was cutting from one scene to another without any sort of flow. Just because we get equal time in seeing the characters on screen, it doesn’t mean that we’re actually learning about them.