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The Poseidon Adventure
DVD disk
05.16.2006 By: Sturdy
The Poseidon Adventure order
Ronald Neame

Gene Hackman
Ernest Borgnine
Red Buttons


star Printer-Friendly version
A cruise ship is knocked over in the middle of the ocean and the survivors must choose a way out. Their only hope is a renegade preacher. Those that follow him stand a chance for survival and those that donít must accept their demise.
The 70ís disaster flicks were popular before my time and after watching them later, I can actually understand their appeal, but not many of them stand the test of time. THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE avoids the pitfalls of showing its age, but it canít avoid the pitfalls of the cheesy action-adventure.

By now, almost everyone has seen this kind of movie before. You have the lone, intelligent hero (Gene Hackman), the smart, but stubborn co-hero (Ernest Borgnine) and a supporting cast that includes an above average kid, a couple of whiney girls and some elderly people. Everyone over-acts their parts on cue and audience members will pick and choose which ones they like and which ones they want to see drown. The film stutters when it focuses in on a particular characterís personal issues because we donít have time to get to know all of them and therefore any effort takes away from the action. That was probably the most frustrating aspect of the film. Weíd be moving along and then it would come to a sudden halt to focus on the personal problems with individual characters.

However, I got into their plight and eagerly anticipated the next obstacle for the cast. Aside from a few instances, the action rolled along fairly smoothly. Gene Hackman is great and his character is the sole owner of all the good dialogue in the film. I really dug his sermon in the beginning. The other characters vary from mildly interesting to highly annoying.

I also had disappointments with the ending, but Iím glad Mr. Neame didnít get to preachy with it. At the end of the day, this is a decent disaster flick that follows the typical adventure mold, but still manages to entertain.
Commentary with Ronald Neame: Mr. Neame is an honest, humble old man. He doesnít take himself too seriously and it was refreshing hearing him talk about the film as if it wasnít a big deal. The best part is that Geneís sermon in the beginning was actually Ronald Neameís philosophy and he wrote that part. This is a great commentary and well worth your time.

Commentary with Pamela Sue Martin, Stella Stevens and Carol Lynley: These three lovelies (lovely in 1973, now theyíre grandmas) really needed a moderator to keep them on track and focused on the film. They branch off into various topics and sometimes donít say anything. I liked hearing them talk and offer up the occasional nugget of information, but for the most part I felt like I was eaves dropping on an all girl conversation.

Follow the Escape Feature: You can watch the film with a nifty little icon popping up every once in a while to show you where the cast is in the boat. The icon comes up, you click on it and you see a map. Itís nice, but it comes up too often. Of course, you donít need to click on it unless youíre wondering where everyone is.

AMC Backstory (25:09): I really like the AMC Backstories and this is a really good one. The gist of it is that it almost didnít get made, and when it was finally released, it was a huge hit. If you donít have time to watch the other featurettes, this one will suffice.

The Cast Looks Back (5:42): The cast (minus Gene Hackman) reminisces about filming the movie. They say the usual things and we donít get any dirty secrets about the cast. Itís pretty blah, but it was nice to see what all the cast members look like now.

Falling Up With Ernie (4:09): This is an entire featurette dedicated to Ernie Orsatti and his one big stunt. Heís the guy that falls into the glass ceiling when the Poseidon initially begins to turn over. He seems like a good guy and he tells the story well enough to make it interesting.

The Heart of Disaster (9:15): This one focuses on the author Stirling Silliphant. He wrote a lot of books and scripts. A lot of effort was put into this one because we get interviews from a lot of different people that were involved in his other movies, not just Poseidon.

The Heroes of the Poseidon (9:52): Iím not a fan of this one because it didnít talk about or with anyone involved in the film. Itís just a couple of peopleís critique on the types of leaders featured in the movie.

The Morning After Story (8:59): First off, the song in the film ďMorning AfterĒ is not a good song. I realize it was nominated for an Oscar, but itís still a really bad song. But this featurette focuses on how the song was written and how it got involved with the movie. Itís a nicely done featurette and it was interesting despite the fact the song makes my ears bleed.

The R,M,S. Queen Mary (6:27): It appears that this one was done by a different group than the other featurettes because it focuses on the actual Queen Mary rather than the film. The Queen Mary was the real-life boat the fake Poseidon was modeled after. I found this one to be very interesting, especially since the idea for the Poseidon came after the author was in a similar real-life situation.

Conversations with Ronald Neame (9:03): This is broken up into three chapters, but itís basically Ronald Neame talking about making the film and the lasting impact the film has had on people. Itís decent enough, but the commentary is much better and these are kind of repetitive.

Interactive Article from American Cinematographer: 43 screens worth of a making-of article from a magazine. I only recommend this to die-hard Poseidon fans and even then I recommend reading the screens on a BIG screen TV. Otherwise your eyes will be too sore to watch more movies.

There are also some Trailers, Photo Galleries and a Storyboard to film comparison.
Overall, this is a nice flick that has an interesting idea and story but falters because of clichťd characters and some serious over-acting. The 2.0 track is extremely disappointing, but the video looks great and the special features will keep you busy for a while.
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