It’s like Titanic, just minus 90 minutes and any quality.
Not that originality was ever Hollywood’s strong suit, what with endless sequels, prequels, and remakes, but why remake a movie that was fine to begin with? I’m not saying that The Poseidon Adventure was a great movie, but it was an excellent disaster flick. So, here you have a group of Hollywood types who looked at the original and said to themselves, “We can do better. All we need is more computer graphics and a higher body count!” The former is never true, but they accomplished the latter in spades. That seems to be the only creativity that went into this movie (apart from the animation and set-building teams). How many ways can you get people to die and then show their corpses? Yeah, I get it. It’s a disaster movie. But the original succeeded in being a tense movie with about one-tenth of the bodies lying around. With this version, I felt like I was watching a George Romero movie, but without any clever subtext. It’s too bad, too, as the movie has a pretty good cast. If you don’t know the plot, a cruise ship gets hit by a big wave and rolls over. People try to get out.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic image quality is pretty good but not great. There is some mosquito noise on the opening titles, and much of the beginning of the movie is fairly noisy. The rest of the movie is very dark, which, of course, was the point. There is good color saturation, when there’s color. The CG looks bad at this resolution. I can only imagine how bad it looked on film (or how bad it will look on the inevitable HD DVD). The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is quite good. There’s lots of action in the surrounds and sub. The scene where the wave hits the ship is very demo worthy.
Extras on this two-disc set are a behind-the-scenes documentary and another one on building the sets. Both show that, for this movie, the parts are far greater than the sum. The other two features are an intern’s video on the movie and an interesting History Channel show on rogue waves.
Sure, it’s not as horrifically bad as the last modern disaster flick, The Day After Tomorrow, but, for all of the effort by the cast and crew, this movie sinks. (Come on, you knew a pun was coming.)