Blu-Ray Review: Wolfgang Petersen’s ‘Poseidon’ Rises to the Surface

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CHICAGO – When Wolfgang Petersen’s “Poseidon” crashed and sank in the wave of summer hits of 2006 — making only $60 million domestically on a reported budget of $160 million — I thought the film got an undeserved bad rap (and it actually did much better internationally). It’s no classic and my love for the Irwin Allen era disaster films might have disguised some flaws but it looks and sounds great on Blu-ray. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

Looking at it now, two things are immediately apparent. First, the movie isn’t nearly as bad as you remember. It’s a well-made slice of escapism that clocks in at a lean 98 minutes; a minor miracle in the age of bloated summer blockbusters. And it has a sound design that’s truly remarkable, something very noticeable with the Blu-ray’s DTS-HD Master Audio English 5.1 track. The other thing you’ll notice is how far special effects have come in just four years. Even though the HD video transfer is excellent, the effects in “Poseidon” already look dated in the age of “Avatar”.

Poseidon was released on Blu-ray on April 6th, 2010.
Poseidon was released on Blu-ray on April 6th, 2010.
Photo credit: WB Home Video

Why did “Poseidon” fail? I think expectations were high with its mid-May release and the pedigree of Petersen (“The Perfect Storm,” “Troy”) and the film is far from perfect. It also lacked some serious star power as proven by the subsequent resumes of “stars” Josh Lucas, Emmy Rossum, Jacinda Barrett, and Mike Vogel. Viewed now with no “Summer Preview” expectations, I think the film does its job as a disaster diversion. Why it’s being released now on Blu-ray is beyond me (perhaps a character name in common with Warner Brothers’ “Clash of the Titans” is reason enough) but it’s a film enhanced by the technical specs of the format and a nice addition for action fans.

Official synopsis: “It’s New Year’s Eve on the Poseidon. Partying voyagers toast the future. The future comes in a rush: a 150-foot rogue wave flips the cruise ship over…and a struggle to survive begins. Director Wolfgang Petersen (The Perfect Storm) returns to the sea with a thrill-packed, cutting-edge screen adaptation of Paul Gallico’s novel The Poseidon Adventure. Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum and more play passengers who must rely on each other as they seek safety through the water, flames and wreckage of an upside-down world.”

Special features:
o “Poseidon: A Ship on a Soundstage”
o “A Shipmate’s Diary”
o “Poseidon: Upside Down”
o The History Channel Documentary “Rogue Waves”

‘Poseidon’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video and stars Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, Jacinda Barrett, Mike Vogel, Jimmy Bennett, and Andre Braugher. It was written by Mark Protosevich and directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It was released on Blu-ray on April 6th, 2010. It is rated PG-13. content director Brian Tallerico

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