The Poseidon Adventure
starring Adam Baldwin, Rutger Hauer, Steve Guttenberg, Bryan Brown, C. Thomas Howell, Alexa Hamilton, Alex Kingston and Peter Weller
teleplay by Bryce Zabel
directed by John Putch
Based on the book by Paul Gallico, this is partly a re-make of the 1972 Poseidon Adventure - directed by Ronald Neame, written by Wendell Mayes, and starring Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Roddy McDowal, Shelley Winters and Leslie Nielsen as ship’s Captain Harrison - and partly a new story. When I rented it I did not know that it was a made for TV movie. As such, it was typically poor. I enjoyed the 1972 original film more than this. Although, with actors like Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons and Roddy McDowall, the original movie was no great thespian achievement either.
An interesting note is that the ship’s captain, played by Peter Weller (Robocop), is named for the book’s original author, Paul Gallico.
A group of surviving passengers in a capsized cruise ship struggle for escape and survival in a death-filled, upside down, underwater nightmare. In the original film the Poseidon was capsized by a giant tsunami. But in this new version the Americans just can’t leave alone the idea of terrorists. The Poseidon has a hole blown in it by a terrorist bomb, planted by Arab men who have infiltrated the ship’s crew. The ship then takes on water like in James Cameron’s Titanic, until it loses equilibrium and flips over. But I think the natural disaster of the giant tsunami is much more exciting to watch than another America-hating, foreign Islamic terrorist scenario. What with it’s rejection of the Kyoto Accord and its fabricated “War on Terror,”American culture probably wants to focus more on fictional terrorist fantasies than on natural disaster stories anyway, despite the greater veracity and relevance of the latter over the former. Or, maybe the movie studio was just cashing in on a timely topic.
My favorite line from the movie: “Targets are reduced,” meaning that military snipers have just killed their targets. Americans love their technology. As I have written before, as a culture they are techno-fetishists: the electric chair, the polygraph test, the space shuttle and the nuclear bomb. There is a knack for applying jargon to every situation to spin it a certain way. Truth is whatever the speaker says it is, from moment to moment.
Don’t bother with this movie, unless you are a diehard Peter Weller or Rutger Hauer fan.