1972's The Poseidon Adventure has not only been re-made, but also re-named Poseidon. The story is the same: A passenger cruise ship is turned upside down by a giant wave, and a band of survivors struggle to work their way up through the wreckage and carnage to reach the bottom of the ship (which is, of course, now the top) and hopefully escape certain doom. In this iteration, the film's title is shorter, snappier, simpler. It may be a simple matter of semantics -- and the word 'Adventure' does makes it sound like our characters are on a jovial day-trip instead of a fear-soaked scramble for life -- but you can see the change in the nomenclature as a reflection of the remake itself: brisker, to-the-point, better marketed ... and a lot less fun.
Poseidon is directed by Wolfgang Pedersen, and there's a strong chance that someone looked at how well Pedersen brought The Perfect Storm from the best-seller list to box office glory and theorized that, if you've got a giant wave in your film, there's only one man to hire. Plus, he's become an adept big-budget technician over the years with only a few black marks on his resume -- I found Troy to be thought-provoking and well-made, although I may have been the only one -- and a pretty steady track record of delivering thrills and chills and spills for multiplex audiences. Pedersen certainly doesn't linger long; the film clocks in at a short 100 minutes, and the boat goes over at around the 17-minute mark.That pace keeps Poseidon tense and terse, certainly -- there's not much letup in the action once the world turns upside down -- but viewed close on the heels of Mission: Impossible III, it also demonstrates a disturbing trend in big-budget moviemaking.