Updated date:

Disaster Porn Saturday Night: Two Waves and A Bomb

When the S.S. Poseidon capsizes, you know it's midnight and a new year

When the S.S. Poseidon capsizes, you know it's midnight and a new year

I used to bug my parents weekly (maybe daily) to go see the original The Poseidon Adventure. I'm not sure how many times I've seen it, but, I still find time to watch it around the end of the year. And it also includes the remakes.

Since everyone knows the story about the ship capsizing at midnight on New Year's Eve, let's take a look at each of the versions.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Most people say that Airport is the granddaddy of disaster films, but, for those of us who are die hard disaster fanatics, this is the film that ushered in the disaster genre.

On her way to the scrapyard the passengers are busy celebrating New Year's Eve at a spectacular party in the ship's dining room when a 90 foot tidal wave (caused by a sub sea earthquake) comes at them out of nowhere.

As the confetti and people start to fly the ship turns over and now the survivors have to figure out if they're going to stay with the tyrannical purser (Byron Webster) or follow Rev. Scott (Gene Hackman) through the bowels of the ship were any rescue attempt will be made.

Those who make the climb up the Christmas tree include the Rogo's (Ernest Borgnine and Stella Stevens); the Rosen's (Jack Albertson and Shelley Winters); the Shelby children (Pamela Sue Martin and Eric Shea); James Martin (Red Buttons) and Nonnie (Carol Lynley) the ship's singer.

As they climb and make their way through the wreckage they stumble across another group of survivors following the ship's doctor (Jan Arvan) who is determined to bring his ragtag group to safety.

Survivor's are killed as the group continues their trek to the engine room, where a small group of six makes it out of the overturned ship.

Considered to be campy now, the film didn't rely on CGI effects and maintains a number one favorite with fans, until the unfortunate sequel and remakes.

Beyond The Poseidon Adventure (1979)

The only problem that I've ever had with this movie is the fact that it took too long to make. For a ship to be floating upside down for seven years (with survivors) is a miracle!

As the sequel begins, Captain Mike Turner (Michael Cain) and Wilbur Hubbard (Karl Malden) are praying that Turner's tug, The Jenny, make it through the storm that they're caught up in. Also on board is Celeste Whitman (Sally Field) who's thumbing a ride to Africa.

The next morning, Turner sees the French rescue helicopter fly over and before you know it, they're at the site of the overturned ship. He sets out to salvage the ship, as does Captain Stefan Svevo (Telly Savalas).

Each group decides to go after whatever it is they want from the ship and as the ship continues to sink, the Turner party pick up survivors along the way, while the Svevo party has other plans.

I've always liked the premise of the salvage and there are some things that do work, but, then again, there are things that don't, like a lot of sappy dialogue. I also thought it was an inventive idea to have other survivors along the way. It does add a little more to the story of the original.

The Poseidon Adventure (2005)

Fans of the original cringed when this made for television movie came out. The fact is, no one likes it.

I tend to agree about not really liking it, but it does have it's moments for a disaster soap opera and really the first remake of the original.

The pros here are there are more characters that make the movie more interesting and of course there's more drama with the inclusion of more characters. Once the ship turns over (in this version, a terrorist group sets off a bomb during a storm and the ship starts to take on water causing the ship to capsize) and those who are going to survive leave the dining room, the story goes back to those who are remaining. It really breaks up the monotony of the survivors as they climb to the engine room.

The most annoying character in this version is Dylan Clarke (Rory Copus). Everything about this character is horrible- and even though he's 14, you kind of wish he wouldn't make it.

While there are a lot of new characters, many of them are barely tolerable and if there was a pool going of which characters to kill off, it would be a tight race for survival.

The CGI effects in this are very bad and sometimes, it's best to just skip over this one, but, it's something that you can't look away from.

Travel at your own risk on this cruise.

Poseidon (2006)

I think this version could have been a little better, but it is what it is.

Like the television movie, there are new characters and newer situations which the characters are placed in. I really like the fact that there are other survivors in another nightclub on board the ship and when the ship turns over, we get to see other parts of the ship as well.

Again, this version has some annoying characters and it's really a tie as to who's more annoying.

First, there's Richard Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss) as a gay man who's just broken up with his lover and begs him to call at midnight. Since the ex doesn't call, he contemplates jumping over the side of the ship and sees the rogue wave bearing down on the ship.

Next, there's precious little Conor James (Jimmy Bennett). There were two ways he could have been killed off: falling from the underside of the table or drowning. Writer Mark Protosevich should have gone with the audience's gut and offed him.

Other than a couple of other annoying characters, everyone gets their just desserts and there's one scene that really steals the entire movie.

As the survivors in the dining room are learning their fate that they're about to drown, singer Gloria (Stacy Ferguson) goes over to Captain Bradford (Andre Braugher) with tears in her eyes as the two hug each other tightly. That second or two of film is the most powerful in the entire movie.

So if you're not going to go out this New Year's Eve, you can always stay home and celebrate with the survivors of the Poseidon.

Related Articles