A Sinking Movie for a Sinking Ship
Whilst I am sure that many will have heard of the classic 1972 disaster movie "The Poseidon Adventure" and maybe heard of the 2006 remake "Poseidon", I wonder how many will have heard of the 2005 TV movie "The Poseidon Adventure". Yes, that's right there was a TV movie/ mini-series version of "The Poseidon Adventure" and trust me it wasn't a good version either, embellishing the original storyline with new stories and characters so it came in at almost 3 hours long whilst filling it with corny dialogue and a serious amount of over acting. And what is surprising is that for a TV movie "The Poseidon Adventure" had a lot of well known names and faces from Steve Guttenberg and Bryan Brown through to the likes of Sylvia Syms and Clive Mantle. As such "The Poseidon Adventure", the TV version, isn't a good movie and doesn't come close to being anywhere near as either of the other versions.
Whilst the passengers aboard the cruise ship Poseidon are looking forward to welcoming in the New Year, Marshall Mike Roggo (Adam Baldwin - Independence Day) is aboard for other reasons as intelligence reports suggest that terrorists are aboard. With just an hour to go before the New Year starts a bomb goes off leaving everyone trapped in the ballroom as the Poseidon capsizes. Knowing that there chances of survival are slim a group of plucky passengers try to navigate their way through the danger littered corridors in the hope that not only they can get out but a rescue party will find them in time.
One way to describe the TV version of "The Poseidon Adventure" is that it takes the storyline to the original movie and then adds a terrorist storyline into the mix so we have a touch of "Speed 2" about it. What this means is that for the first hour whilst in classic style we get introduced to the characters which will become pivotal following the disaster we also get a story surrounding terrorists with bombs concealed in beer kegs aboard the Poseidon and is the reason why Marshall Mike Roggo is on board. Now what is important is not to try and work out why terrorists are on the Poseidon because there is no real reason, which is often the case with other things which happen. What is important is that whilst the captain of the Poseidon knows they are about to sail into a storm that isn't the cause of the disaster, yes a bomb going off causes the disaster. And what is one of the cheesiest elements is the repeated explanations as to why the Poseidon then capsizes.
So all of this means is that for the first hour "The Poseidon Adventure" tries to be different to the original whilst still setting up the characters such as the priest, the detective, the young child and so on so we have a band of people who will endeavour to make their way out of the sinking ship. After this "The Poseidon Adventure" then tries to emulate the original with scenes which look almost identical to the original starring with the ballroom scene so not only do we have a young woman trapped on an upside down table but also the metal Christmas tree to climb out of the room on. And then there's more as we follow this plucky bunch of survivors as they navigate rooms on fire, long swims through water filled corridors as well as a gantry over a pit of flames. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so obviously copying the original and had found something a little more different to make these moments of action and drama feel new rather than just copies.
To give it some credit this second section does have some embellishments such as trainee nurse and the ships doctor staying behind in the ballroom to tend to the injured as well as a husband who has embarked on an affair with the boats masseuse also involved. Plus there is the continuing saga of the terrorists with Mike Roggo having caught one trying to lead him off the boat so he can be interrogated. Actually this terrorist thing leads to scenes away from the Poseidon as we watch some sort of intelligence bureau trying to arrange a daring rescue mission when they learn of the disaster aboard the ship. Although it is all rather cheesy, especially when those plucky passengers use the upside down internet cafe aboard the ship to send out a distress message via email, to think the ship is upside down, antennas must be under water but still they manage to send out that email.
And that is the thing as whilst you get elements of the original movie mixed in with this terrorist storyline whilst also trying to bring it up to date with modern technology it is all so cheesy. In fact in every aspect of the movie there is a serious amount of cheese starting with the special effects which as you may suspect look cheap and false, especially those featuring CGI. Then there is the dialogue and I lost track of how many corny lines that were getting thrown into the air and yes I found myself laughing at the tackiness of some false bravado. Talking of which I couldn't believe my eyes when in one scene one survivor stripped to her underwear so that they could rip up her dress to use as masks to navigate a smoke filled room. And I could go on because with some seriously forced acting there is no other word for it than cheesy.
As for that acting well to be honest no one manages to put in a memorable performance but then not a single character in the movie has anything close to being any depth. So whilst this TV version of "The Poseidon Adventure" may features such names as Steve Guttenberg, Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell, and Bryan Brown as well as a few recognizable British actors such as Alex Kingston, Clive Mantle and Sylvia Syms no one delivers anything close to being a believable performance with every single one of them over acting. And to be honest the worst performance comes from Adam Baldwin because as Marshall Mike Roggo who is meant to be on the boat undercover he acts so flipping suspiciously as he suspects everybody as being a terrorist that it becomes painful.
What this all boils down to is that this TV movie version of "The Poseidon Adventure" is simply the worst version. Going in its favour is that it does try to embellish the original storyline with a terrorist aspect but sadly the end result is a cheesy movie which too often copies the original scene for scene and so looks weak in comparison. Plus between the corny dialogue, dodgy special effects and a lot of over acting it is at times all a little bit too laughable.