Poseidon (2006) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Drama
Warner Brothers || PG13 - 98 minutes - $24.98 || April 6, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-03-30


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Writer(s): Paul Gallico (novel, "The Poseidon Adventure"); Mark Protosevich (screenplay)
Cast: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Emmy Rossum, Richard Dreyfuss, Mike Vogel, Kevin Dillon


Theatrical Release Date: May 12, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 4 Featurettes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Plot: It’s New Year’s Eve on the Poseidon. Partying voyagers toast the future. The future comes in a rush: a 150-foot wave flips the cruise ship over... and a struggle to survive begins.

Amongst the survivors is an ex-Navy man turned professional gambler Dylan (JOSH LUCAS), a former disgraced mayor named Robert Ramsey (KURT RUSSELL), his daughter Jennifer (EMMY ROSSUM), Jennifer’s fiancée Christian (MIKE VOGEL), a mother Maggie James (JACINDA BARRETT) and her son (JIMMY BENNETT), depressed Richard Nelson (RICHARD DREYFUSS) and a few others who are only important to fill the time and die on us.

Together, this rag-tag team take a dangerous journey through the upside down ship going up and down corridors, nearly get burned and drowned and all sorts of trouble, trying to escape with their lives before the ship goes under.

Whenever I watch a remake or even franchise reboot is ask whether it needed to be done. Is the original or previous entry deserving of a new start? For instance, I don’t think there’s any argument that after the debacle that was Batman & Robin, the studio needed to being anew and thus Batman Begins was born. As an example of where a remake could have gone wrong, the Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead managed to hold its own against a classic. Unfortunately that is not always the case and we get plenty of remakes – or reimagining as some Hollywood producers like saying – that absolutely were unnecessary. Poseidon is one of those.

The problem is, Poseidon offers nothing new outside of some incredible visual and special effects, but the story doesn’t hold up very well and the outside of a couple of the main characters, the entire film has nothing to grasp other than as a way to show how to spend $160 million. Fortunately back in 2006, audiences saw through the glitz of a CGI script and 1-dimensional characters and soundly rejected the project as the film would only go on to make $60 million in the U.S. (though it still managed to make a total of $180 million worldwide).

The cast is also another point of contention, not because Josh Lucas or Kurt Russell aren’t good actors, but I don’t feel they could help such a porous script stay afloat (pun intended). Perhaps at one time Russell could’ve helped but his character of a disgraced mayor never held water (there I go again) while the relationship with his daughter never felt real, even during a pivotal and emotional moment. For his part, Josh Lucas does his best in the lead role, but when you don’t have the story and character development (even in the genre), why should anyone care what happens to them?

As I mention before, Poseidon is only good for the visual and special effects, but it goes back to my question as to why bother? Sure, $160 million is a good jolt to the economy and keeps thousands of people employed for a few months, yet at the same time, The Poseidon Adventure, as campy as it may be, is still an incredible adventure even by today’s standards and features an engrossing story and at least semi relatable characters headlined by the illustrious Gene Hackman.

In the end, Poseidon isn’t the absolute dud some have made it out to be. If you don’t compare it with the 1972 classic, it’s actually an enjoyable film, but it’s also fascinating to see the tons of money Warner Bros. and the (numerous) production companies shelled out to put forth such amazing spectacles and yet an incredibly, at best, average script.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Poseidon makes its way finally onto Blu-ray (after 3 years+ on HD DVD) and while the DVD features (sans the Theatrical Trailer) have been ported over, there’s no In-Movie Experience (Picture-in-Picture) in sight, so the IME remains an HD DVD Exclusive still...

All these features are presented in standard definition and letterboxed widescreen or full frame.

Poseidon: A Ship on a Soundstage (22:42) – This is a half-laughable featurette where members of the cast (including Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, etc) try to explain how this is different from the 1972 classic, that the original was “campy” and this one has more “passion”. Well, the comedy bit only lasts a minute or two before they go into the basis for the story before going behind-the-scenes. Overall, it’s a pretty good glimpse into the making of this disaster flick so it’s not a complete waste.

A Shipmate’s Story (12:22) – A film school graduate and assistant to Wolfgang Petersen takes us on a tour of the set and behind-the-scenes interviewing various members of the crew starting with the production party before comparing a big budget disaster vs. a student film. *Yawn*

Poseidon: Upside Down (10:45) is more behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew members who were full of compliments over the incredible upside down sets. Really, this could’ve been integrated with the “A Ship on a Soundstage” featurette...

History Channel “Rogue Waves: The Sinking of Poseidon” (28:37) – This special examines the phenomenon known as the rogue wave that has been known to happen out on the open seas. This serves on the backdrop of the film and how something seen in the movie could really happen. This is probably the most interesting featurette on the disc as you get to learn about these rogue waves, which for me was incredibly interesting.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Poseidon comes to Blu-ray in its original 2.40 widescreen presentation and 1080p high-definition. One could assume this was merely the same transfer as was done for the HD DVD but even so, it’s still a nice looking video. The picture has some good black levels and the detail levels on the various elements like actors’ faces or general objects were clear, free of dust and scratches. There is a noticeable amount of natural grain and noise especially during the darker scenes, so it looks like no DNR was used, which is very good news.

The disc also sports a new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The HD DVD version had a TrueHD track and without having tested that audio, I can assume this is probably also on par if not nearly identical. The track is immersive especially during the many action sequences. You can hear the water splashing everywhere and the sounds of glass crashing and the screams of people as the ballroom fills with water. The LFE is also nice without going overboard as sometimes the channel can be pumped up to give a heavier viewer impact.



.::OVERALL::.

Poseidon is the best example of why certain movies should not and do not need a remake. It’s not that the original is a masterpiece in the disaster genre (it’s a personal favorite of mine) but that this remake doesn’t offer anything new other than some spiffy visual effects and some modernization. Now, to be fair, Poseidon isn’t a terrible movie, just on that wasn’t necessary.

The Blu-ray also doesn’t offer much new, in fact it removed the trailer and an apparently amazing IME feature that is still an HD DVD exclusive. The audio is fantastic and the video more than acceptable, but I suspect it’s probably on par with the HD DVD version so if you went red before and own this, might as well stick with that version.