(Review originally written at 3 August 2005)

Disaster movies were extremely popular in the '70's. It's really too bad that most of those disaster movie feel terribly outdated today, even at times laughable. Especially the over-dramatized moments and characters are ridicules. Unfortunately "The Poseidon Adventure" is no exception. All the typical over-dramatized elements and characters are present here but still this movie remains perfectly watchable today mainly thanks to Hackman's performance and the nice set decorations.

Isn't it funny? In almost every disaster movie there are the same type of characters. The main character is always an average Joe that slowly turns into an hero. Other typical characters that are always present in a disaster movie are an elderly couple, annoying kids and a just married/fallen in love couple. No, the characters are not what makes "The Poseidon Adventure" a good movie to watch. What makes the movie truly interesting is the adventurous story in which the main group of characters have to find a way to the propeller shaft which is their only hope of escape from the up-side-down ship. The fact that the ship is up-side-down provides some nice and also original, tense moments.

The whole sequences in which the ship capsizes is one to remember...because it's extremely laughable. I know, I am ashamed of myself. It was supposed to be a dramatic and shocking scene but I couldn't help laughing when the camera made those weird movements and those people pretended to be falling down when in fact they were just standing still. Seriously, it was almost slapstick like!

Hackman is awfully good as the main character Reverend Scott. Looking at this movie it was pretty obvious that it was made in his "The French Connection" period. The rest of the cast never succeeds in making their character really likable or emotionally involving enough, with the excepting of Leslie Nielsen's role as the Captain perhaps but his role is unfortunately too small. Not many people realize this but in the period when Nielsen still played serious roles, instead of in silly comedies, he was a pretty good and talented actor. He kind of ruined his own career by appearing only in silly comedies these days.

This movie is best watchable if you're a fan of disaster movies. I admit, I'm not the biggest fan of those and the only disaster movie from the '70's I really like is "The Towering Inferno" but still this movie is a good second on my list.

And for what it's worth, it's in my opinion on par with "Titanic" from 1997.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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