Remake Recon: The Poseidon Adventure


A comparison review of the 1972 classic Irwin Allen disaster film The Poseidon Adventure about a capsized ocean liner and its 2006 big-budget remake directed by Wolfgang Petersen

Poseidon Adventure disaster movie 1972 2006 movie remake review

Back in the 1970’s the disaster genre was at its peak. Millions of moviegoers were heading out to their local theaters to watch actors do their best to survive the worst catastrophes that Hollywood could think up. These disaster films became a real craze and audiences didn’t seem like they would ever get tired of them.

Gradually they did.

The quality of the disaster films started to ebb. Budgets started to decline. Concepts reeked of desperation. Soon disaster films settled into Television Movies of the Week on the networks. By the early 80’s the Disaster Craze was over.

One of the biggest hits of the Disaster Film Era was producer Irwin Allen’s The Poseidon Adventure. It was a simple enough idea – an oceanliner capsizes on New Years Eve and we tag along with our band of survivors trying to get out of it before it sinks. It would become a worldwide hit and would be considered one of the best disaster films of the period.

Over thirty years The Poseidon Adventure would get the remake treatment. Not just once, but twice. First in 2005 as a made-for-TV movie. Then the following year the story would be treated to a big budget by director Wolfgang Petersen, simply titled Poseidon.

I take a look at both theatrical versions of the Poseidon story and see how they stack up against one another.

Remake Recon: The Poseidon Advenure from HaphazardStuff on Vimeo.

7 thoughts on “Remake Recon: The Poseidon Adventure

  1. Great comparisons. To answer one question you had about why Kurt Russell was an ex fire fighter and ex mayor. I think when the movie was made Rudy Giuliani was "America's Mayor" and both he and NY firemen were deemed very heroic due to their responses during 9/11. By making Kurt a Mayor and fire fighter no one in the audience would not know he is one of the good guys.

    1. Well, no. The film was made in 2006, Giuliani left the office of Mayor in 2002. And besides, the way movies are supposed to let us know who the "good guy" is is through good storytelling, not typecasting.

  2. One thing about the remake I didn't get is when the is first capsized and the captain is the one who says everyone should stay put. In the original it was just some random guy; shouldn't the captain know better, this makes less sense.

  3. I saw the original again last year and it mostly holds up. Set design is great and cast do well with what they're given to do. Williams music definitely a big plus. Saw the 'remake' once and really struggled to get through it. I don't know what the reasoning behind the script was for most of the running time. It's just hard to either care about the characters, or to keep watching.

  4. One other thing to add. Kinda close to your area, in NJ, Morey's Piers back in the 70'a. The late great Fred Mahana created a Poseidon Adventure walk thru attraction. Here's some links about it.'s+piers+poseidon+adventure+ride&source=bl&ots=UpXL9ZrLK0&sig=2ipY_KcvAJQUCuYpv5mFPy9eaVA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=A2D-UL2TKZHy9gTc34DoBA&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=morey's%20piers%20poseidon%20adventure%20ride&f=false

    I forgot to ask this in your Manimal post. but are you going to review "The Toxic Adventure". Yes, it's a Trome film don't know how you feel about those movies, but it follows the superhero tropes as well. Also, I wondering if you touch on Conan, if you feel pulp novel is a stoping point.

    One last thing. here's the link to that Sky Movies trailer where they edited all the James Bond in the same place or driving place. I know you said that there's a lot of other people that those this, but I think if watch your stuff to get the quality for the art. Like the saying goes, if you going to steal, steal fromt the best.

  5. Guinness World Records considered the ship in Poseidon as the most detailed CG-design in their 2010 edition.

    In interviews, Richard Dreyfuss commented that he did this remake film for money. I certainly understand that! He definitely didn't do it because it was a great part. He played a gay man, suicidal and depressed because his lover has left him. Unfortunately his being gay seemed rather gratuitous. Publicity for the film stated that he suddenly discovers he very much wants to live. This also seemed gratuitous.

    The only character I had one iota of concern for was Valentin played by Freddy Rodriguez who is promptly killed by Richard Dreyfuss to save himself — just moments after having one leg over the railing in an 'I'm-despondent-because-my-lover-left-me' sulk. Wait! Maybe he was just disgusted that Fergie was the musical act of the evening! Come to think of it I might have sought other options myself …

    Josh Lucas is an okay actor but he wasn't very good here. He just didn't make a good hero nor was his character very likable, he needs to stop trying to be a Matthew McConaughey impersonator.

    Kurt Russell was nothing special as a former NYC firefighter and mayor and seems to have fallen into the real life role of aging action hero making way for younger action hero.

    Kurt Russell's character's terrible daughter Jennifer played by Emmy Rossum is a spoiled brat who immediately let's you know she will not be 'patronized' and had a miserable childhood with a father who was mayor of New York. Pity. Nope. Don't care if she or her fiancé make it — especially after the straight-from- daytime-soaps scene in the end! "I need you to tell me you love me," he says as he dawdles so long before diving down to go turn off the propellers they're only hope at this point that Kurt Russell gets tired of waiting and sacrifices himself! Perhaps it was the bad acting that made him take the plunge. Who knows?

    Kevin Dillon's playing the part of Lucky Larry who seemed obviously patterned after computer game icon Leisure Suit Larry. His character would have been quite enjoyable had he not been so reprehensible.

    Unlike The Poseidon Adventure in which the Poseidon is upside-down when it sinks, it turns the right way up in the 2006 film adaption.

  6. That was a solid review, but it was that opening montage you made with clips of both movies that I found especially moving. It was all really well done.

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