I watched ‘Poseidon’ a few days back. I missed some part of the movie in the second half but I’ve seen enough to speak about it fairly.
First of all, there is a ship called ‘Poseidon’. It is L-A-R-G-E, H-U-G-E, B-I-G, M-A-M-M-O-T-H (yes, I do realize this is getting irritating. So suffice to say that the ship ain’t little.) And it is also ‘Greek’ (la-di-da). It is named after the Greek God, Poseidon, who had probably foreseen the overwhelming nonsense of real-estate prices and built his kingdom in the sea.
Now, anything big and Greek and named after a God has to attract a tragedy, doesn’t it?
So, this ship sinks. Some people survive. That’s the plot in a pinched, lego nutshell.
Because of this premise, expectedly, the movie has a lot of water. The deluge is caused by a ‘Rogue Wave’. And no, it is not a badly behaved rock band. (It would have been interesting had it been, though.)
There’s a huge flap of water that..ahem..rocks the boat – the very, very big boat while all and sundry are celebrating New Years. But not all of them are happy that night.
A gay architect is recently dumped and is so morose that he decides to go to the deck and jump off the ship. While on deck, he sees the garanguatan wave approaching the ship and he suddenly decides that he doesn’t want to die. Not when his death would be so ably supported by nature. Later on in the movie, the effete gentleman shakes off a hanger-on (literally. A guy hangs on to his feet while they are crossing some beam or the other) for survival.
Then there is this stunning woman with excellent repartees and a child who has agile fingers. (An excellent kind of motherhood I think.) She catches the attention of a handsome Nordic looking gentleman who saves her child towards the end. Interesting, because earlier in the movie he has no qualms of letting the other not-so-good-looking people die. Not that he kills them, per se, but he often seems to be proffering the ‘You die or he dies’ choice to other harassed survivors. And he has icy blue eyes – the color of the centre of a flame. Magnifico.
Kurt Russel has a simpering daughter with a pinched faced boyfriend. They alternately go ‘Dadddeee!’ and ‘Sirrrrr!’ at minimal instigation. They are hugely irritating and I suppose that’s why they survive. The more annoying you are, the longer you live. (One area where art mirrors life, I suppose.)
The photography is good (especially, when the gang is going through vents) but for everyone who has seen Titanic, many of the scenes evoke the ‘Been there done that’ ennui. (No-one has exactly been there or done that, but then.. when one watched Titanic, one lived a little vicariously.)
The dialogues – well, let’s just say that if people talked like that in real life and they drowned, nobody would be too sad.
Here’s an example:
Kurt Russell’s daughter and potential son-in-law get trapped in the disco. The ‘Rogue Wave’ hits the ship and much chaos ensues. Some noisy, steel parts of the ship clank ominously. Russell wants to find the disco to rescue the kids. He asks the Nordic guy, ‘You know where the disco is?’
Nordic guys wipes his forehead and replies, ‘What? You feel like going dancing now?’
Tsk! Tsk! PJs in the time of crisis. But well, his eyes were the lovely blue of the centre of a flame, etc., etc. So one forgives.
Getting back to the irritating twosome – Kirk’s daughter and her boyfriend who wishy- washily proposes to her before they all get very, very wet.
A situation arises where someone has to go and pull some plug or raise some lever or do any of those things that are not really material to the engrossing portion of the story. The pinch-faced boyfriend (who sometimes look like a scowling Sohail Khan) offers to go. The girl then turns away and cries her pretty tears while the boy tells her: ‘I need you to say ‘I love you’ now.’ What he did need was never to have left his pram for overgrown babies. The girl is getting all distorted with anguish while you are tapping your feet and curbing the urge to pound them.
In the meantime, Russell, to save his daughter and her no-good lover, jumps into the water and is gone. He didn’t need to know if anyone loved him or not when they were all so close to drowning. Thank god for grown-ups.
And of course, after they notice that he is gone, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb shriek ‘‘Dadddeee!’ and ‘Sirrrrr!’
The movie is pretty entertaining if you can get through all those hushed, mindless, excited carpings about the ‘Access Hatch’. They keep talking about that stupid hatch like it’s some religious symbol. Even the kid goes ‘Access Hatch! Access Hatch!’ and then those ‘Daddeee’, ‘Sirrrr’ marbles spout, ‘Did you see the ‘Access Hatch?’
I mean, they wouldn’t even recognize an Access Hatch if it were surrounded with boards saying ‘Access Hatch Here’. They would probably keep looking for an ‘Axis Hatch’ because they are stupid.
But it’s not all infuriating though. There is a lovely song that seems fitting to be a parting song, lamenting tearful separations and such like; except that it comes in the very beginning (And then again when the credits roll – the ‘who cares?’ period of the film.)
Also, there was a very poignant moment when Richard Dreyfuss, the gay architect, is leaving a phone message for the guy who dumped him. ‘Call me at midnight for old time’s sake’, he pleads. There is such beggary in his voice. Very sad and very, very excellent. Now, there’s an actor!
I have never really liked Kurt Russell much, but I thought he was good in this film. Or maybe I felt sad for him because he was saddled with kids who have such root-canal personalities.
The movie does make some interesting commentary on human anthropology though.
- Only when it is a ship and there’s a crisis and they’re all going to drown and there are is a very slim chance of survival and they need a way to escape… will men stop and ask for directions.
- Even though it is a ship and there’s a crisis and they’re all going to drown and there are is a very slim chance of survival and they need a way to escape…no-one asks a woman to read the map.