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If you have three and a half hours to kill, do NOT watch Titanic. Take the
three and a half hours and watch the Poseidon Adventure twice. Okay, it's
campy and it's the consummate 70s disaster flick, complete with ensemble
But when you put them up against each other, Poseidon Adventure is just leagues better than Titanic. Titanic is over three hours, and centers around two characters. In that time, the two characters are hardly developed at all, they're terribly one dimensional and probably could be summed up in about a sentence each.
Compare this to Poseidon Adventure. Stars off with a dozen main characters, and in half as much time, they all have their own personalities, quirks, and are real identifiable people. And far from the Titanic tendency of stamping "I'm gonna die" on people's foreheads, in the Poseidon Adventure you don't know initially who's going to die- or at least not how or when anyway.
The Poseidon Adventure is just a more interesting movie. It may not be as glossy or as pretty, but it's got it where it counts... it's just a better film.
Anyone who has seen as many disaster movies as I have knows that this
is absolutely the best one ever made. For a film nearly thirty years
old, Poseidon Adventure is still so effective that it would cause
anyone planning to take a cruise to think twice. You probably know the
plot--luxury liner capsized by a tidal wave. This synopsis is brought
to life with suspense, drama, and sometimes, terrifying reality. One of
the most effective cinematic touches is that in nearly every scene, the
camera is slowly swaying back and forth to give us a sense that we
really are at sea. Something "Titanic" completely missed.
We follow the journey of ten survivors through the inverted ship to their hopeful rescue--narrowly escaping fires, explosions, and flooding corridors every step of the way. The sets are epic and nothing less than spectacular. Especially the inverted dining room when the Atlantic Ocean comes crashing in, and the engine room which is now a horrifying twisted metal inferno. The cast is good, however Gene Hackman, Shelly Winters, and Stella Stevens are best. Hackman is our handsome hero, Winters is our unselfish caring mother, and Stevens is absolutely radiant (pre-capsize) and adds a welcome touch of humor to the mess.
No, the movie is not perfect, and it is of course starting to look a bit dated. However the suspense and dazzling effects will keep you glued to your seat and you certainly won't be bored. Poseidon Adventure is a true classic. A must see for everyone--not just disaster movie fans.
The aging liner Poseidon, on her final journey, is struck by a tidal wave
that knocks her upside down. A small group of passengers realise that if
they want to survive they must journey up into the bowels of the ship
for rescue from above.
The idea is well conceived and the excellent cast turn in good performances despite getting little help from the somewhat corny script. With above average special effects for the time and excellent sets that convincingly realise the upside down half-flooded ship and its bewildering maze of passageways, the movie manages to be compelling and exciting viewing.
The Poseidon Adventure is one of those movies I have seen at least once a
year as long as I have been alive. I lived in Maine when I was a kid and we
loved our natural disaster flicks. Of all the great disaster movies from the
70s, this has got to be the best one. Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Shelly
Winters, Roddy McDowall, Leslie Neilson, and the list goes
The basic plot goes like this. The Poseidon is a cruise ship out for its last voyage and it is New Year's Eve. The guests are all celebrating while deep beneath the ocean's surface an earthquake is happening. The earthquake sets off a huge tsunami and the ship is knocked upside down. In order to be saved, a small group of people heads for the engine room at the bottom (make that top, since the ship is upside down) of the ship. At first, the ocean claims hundreds of the passengers until they are whittled down to about 10 people left. From here there are plenty of tense moments and a power struggle for control of the survivors. Typical disaster movie fare but done rather well.
This movie is a great main event for a disaster film weekend.
Although after Airport The Poseidon Adventure truly is the film that started the craze... The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Airport 75 etc. all owe their getting made to this film...while Airport may have started the genre PS perfects it. Top of the line special effects, decent acting, and an edge of your seat story makes this the king of all disaster films. It's so good that no matter what I'm doing if I flip channels and hot this I stop and watch it.
It is hard to believe this movie was made over 30 years ago. Don't let the fact that it was made in 1972 influence your decision to see it. It is as exciting today as it was then. I never miss a chance to see it, as I pick up new details each time. The scene when the cruise ship turns over is especially awesome. The actors are well cast. There is just a sprinkling of comedy to take the edge off the drama. Gene Hackman plays his part well. I have never been disappointed by this actor. The main characters compliment each other well. They are all familiar faces, but they become the people they are playing. Hollywood has not remade this movie because they can't improve on it.
'The Poseidon Adventure' is a supremely entertaining flick from the
days when blockbusters were amongst the best movies out there. Rather
than the worst.
Sure, it's corny and it's histrionics can seem overly familiar, but it still packs a punch. This is due to the fact that it's played completely straight. Well, relatively straight in the case of the Borgnine/ Stevens double-act. And it achieves real dramatic resonance from it's allegorical plot line. It pretty much created the template for the 'disaster' film.
Red Buttons' funky little walk up on deck.
The way Pamela Sue Martin and her date boogie down when they hit the dance floor.
Pamela Sue Martin's legs. Ditto Carol Lynley.
Lynley's hippy brother.
Roddy McDowall's accent and dialogue (consisting mostly of "yes, sir" and "I think so, sir").
Ernest Borgnine learning that kids can be useful as well as merely irritating.
Hackman's "Please, God - not THIS woman" schtick and death scene.
All of Stella Stevens' wardrobe.
The 1970's were the heyday of disaster films and this was one of the better
ones. An overacting all-star cast graced the screen in all of them. THE
POSEIDON ADVENTURE was the very first big-budget moneymaker that spawned a
whole slew of knock-offs involving tidal waves, fires, hurricanes, floods,
earthquakes, and volcanoes. It is also arguably the best. Producer Irwin
Allen was the mastermind behind most of them, known for spending millions of
dollars on special effects and his big-name stars.
A simple plot: a tidal wave knocks a ship upside down and a handful of survivors have to climb to the bottom of the ship at the surface before the ship sinks. They are led by a fanatical preacher (Gene Hackman) who conflicts with an ex-cop (Ernest Borgnine) and his ex-hooker wife (Stella Stevens). Jack Albertson (WILLY WONKA) and Shelley Winters are an elderly Jewish couple who are on their way to see their new grandchild. Pamela Sue Martin (TV's Nancy Drew) and Eric Shea (like Bobby Brady, but more annoying) are brother and sister on their way to meet their parents. Roddy McDowall (a fantastic actor) is wasted as a ship hand who dies rather quick. Red Buttons (PETE'S DRAGON) is an elderly gentleman who helps the ship's lounge singer (Carol Lynley) retain her sanity. Arthur O'Connell is a strict reverend who refuses to go along with Hackman. Leslie Nielsen makes a cameo as the ship's captain who dies during the tidal wave.
The cast really isn't very important, it's the special effects and on-going tension that makes the film so much fun. I absolutely love the claustrophobic and wet feeling that is so important to the execution of the film. While a lot of the acting hasn't aged well (Shelley Winters, Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine are especially guilty of overacting!), the special effects aren't too cheesy and the entire set of the ship is wonderfully well-made, still standing as an achievement on its own. Lots of unintentional humor abounds (the obese Shelley Winters swimming underwater, displaying her underpants clinging to her bulbous buttocks), which makes the viewing experience all the more enjoyable. The theme song, "The Morning After", won an Oscar and is rather lightweight, but highly listenable.
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE definitely does have some twists and turns that surprise the viewer (not everyone gets out alive) and holds the audience's attention throughout the entire thing, even though things do get a little soap opera-ish at times. This makes a great double bill with THE TOWERING INFERNO, which I find a better picture, but POSEIDON is a very fun viewing and is, if anything, a great movie to watch if you have 2 hours to kill.
Despite some questions about the plausability of the physics behind the disaster, I greatly enjoyed this film thanks mostly to the fine ensemble cast headed by the great Gene Hackman. I actually bought into the illusion that this diverse group of people was living this unreal harrowing experience. I remember my theater instructor said this film makes a statement about which people deserve to survive and thereby reproduce. Without being politically incorrect here, he said to analyze the different criteria we use to classify people and see which of these criteria can be applied to the survivors. Even without any social analysis, this is a fine disaster film, 8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Reverand Scott cracks me up because He's so concerned abut all the
women not climbing in their long dresses. "You can't climb in that,
it'll have to come off"-except, conveniently, Mrs. Rosen. Hmmmm....I
die for Pamela Sue Martin's outfit and how she just sort of shrugs and
steps out of that dress revealing those red hot pants. That is so good!
Love Stella Steven's sick scene! I LOVE R. Scott's sermon. "God likes
tryers!" Love love love Carol doing her Maureen McGovern drag.
Also, R. Scott overlooks Linda's giant silver spiked heels! Not exactly recommended "climbing out of the innards of a capsized ship footwear"-especially those catwalks!Woopsie! Having said all that, "TPA" is my all time favorite! It works on every level for me and I don't care what anyone else thinks! Unless, of course, you love it like me than by all means share away! I get goose pimples every time Leslie Neilson looks through those binoculars and says "Oh my God" -die for that. Oh yes.
All The Best, Guy
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