Friday, April 21, 2006

Wells on Poseidon

by Brian
Jeffrey Wells surprisingly is surprised about Poseidon’s poor financial outlook:
I tend to shy away from big-budget effects movies, but even I'm half into seeing this thing. I really like Kurt Russell, I've always enjoyed Richard Dreyfuss (especially if he gets angry) and I'm cool with Josh Lucas playing the lead. If I didn't expect to see it at a press screening within a week, I'd be okay with buying a ticket.

Why, then, are the Poseidon tracking figures in the toilet?
To which I can only say, isn’t it obvious?

Who on earth doesn’t already feel like they’ve seen this movie 800 times, and have liked it a little bit less each of the last 799? Does anyone know anyone who didn’t roll their eyes when they first heard of this movie, and say “Another remake?! Doesn’t Hollywood have any original ideas? And didn’t they just do a TV movie of that?”

To me, and just about everyone I talk to (which, admittedly, is not very many people), this movie represents everything stale and pointless about Hollywood movies today. NO ONE wants to see this. Even the least sophisticated moviegoer out there knows that they can watch the trailer 100 consecutive times and get the same experience as actually seeing the whole film.

And yet, this is the movie –- this ungainly, Emmerich-level CGI-fest -- of all the special effect-driven summer movies of years past, that’s got Wells going. Unbelievable.

17 Comments:

Blogger Colin said...

As I've said before, I've been skeptical about this one since that TV version appears and, well, tanked. That said, wasn't the tracking for "The Perfect Storm" pretty week before it came out, and then everyone was shocked when it completely dominated "The Patriot" when they opened on the same weekend.

And I agree with you on the Emmerich-level CGI fest point, but then again, didn't "The Day After Tomorrow" do really well at the box office?

I don't know...I guess that leaves me conflicted about how the movie is going to do. I guess I'll say that it does about $130 million domestcially and much better overseas.

4/21/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I have no interest in seeing this, and abhor the frequency of remakes these days. But it does give me a little jolt of nostalgia.

When I saw the 1972 Poseidon Adventure back when it first came out, I was about 11 or 12 years old. It was, at the time, quite an event for me. I suppose I was starting to watch films with a critical eye. It was about this time I started writing little reviews of films for my own amusement. The Poseidon Adventure blew me away, and it was the first time I remember thinking to myself, "This is the best movie I've ever seen!"

Now, I've seen it since then and it doesn't hold up, and I wouldn't put in my top 500. I found the performances of Ernest Borgnine and Stella Stevens laughably bad. But it still holds a special place in my movie-going heart.

4/21/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/21/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

[Correcting missing ship name which I swear looked jake in the comment preview.]

Yeah, Jackrabbit, I well remember it being pointed out what a lame setup the original movie was, so when I saw the trailer for the new one I was amazed that they pretty much use the same ridiculous mid-ocean wall of water wave. Couldn't they at least have it be a big swell that takes the bow under and flips it? Or maybe they couldn't figure out how that would work without actually just sinking the ship.

I was on the Explorer of the Seas last summer in the backwash of a hurricane, and I thought I was going to die when I woke up in the wee hours to the worst of it, unable to stand up in my stateroom and unable to go back to sleep to the nightmare I had been having about the ship going under (it was a cool nightmare--Don Cheadle was one of the other scientists working on the ship with me, and we were both bitching about how corporate didn't give a rat's ass about us guys working out in the field, like they thought we were on vacation when we putting our lives on the line etc.). That movie I would have gone to see.

4/21/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

I guess you could argue that the original TPA was one of the first films that we see in abundance currently - while popular that many people feel some contempt for being a bombastic, bland Hollywood blockbuster.

I saw it a year or so ago and enjoyed it despite several idiotic elements - especially Borgnine's character's pointless rivalry with Gene Hackman. But considering it set off the trend of inane disaster films in the 1970s, it has a lot of things to answer for.

As for the remake, while Wells makes the point of the recent TV movie killing interest in it, let's not forget that there was a 'Titanic' TV movie (starring George C. Scott) that was released shortly before James Cameron's film was released.

I think Phillip C. Perron's comment in the Wired column is a pretty good summation of the problems the current film is going to face.

4/21/2006 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Lora said...

I know I won't be rushing to see this film. Without Underwater Swimming Champ Shelley Winters, what's the point? Been there, done that. On the other hand, I can't predict what the public will like. I've despised a bunch of big moneymakers, so I don't even try to guess.

Like Jaydro, I was on a cruise that was affected by a hurricane. They can't use that as a setup for Poseidon, because the moviegoing public doesn't want to see the reality of it...a whole bunch of people running around, looking for a place to lose their lunch (or midnight buffet).

4/22/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Hehe, I'm not liking this forum goer to cruise disaster experience ratio. My parents and little sister are going on a carribean cruise on Sunday!

Also, I thought I should let everyone know, my little word verification code is "antbun." Yummy...

4/22/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger LesterG said...

I’m amazed at Wolfgang's sheer laziness for using nearly identical "money shots" in two disaster-at-sea movies in a row. It's just telling the audience in advance "I'm phoning this one in".

In terms of box-office, who besides the studio didn’t see that release date as being a problem?

They have to contend with week two of MI:3 (which could be formidable), "The Da Vinci Code" the following week and "X3" the week after that. Why it's not sitting in a safe July / Early August berth is beyond me.

4/26/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Now that he's seen it Wells says it
"moves right along and kicks ass according to the rules of the game"

Looks like misstep of Planet of the Apes-like proportions to me.

I couldn't have said it better myself, Brian. It looks like a fucking soulless monstrum. "It is what it is, take it or leave it" etc. whatever Wells excuses his like of it for, it looks like crap.

But that Steve Gutenberg tv remake on the other hand, now that I have to see. It's like the D-movie of my dreams.

4/26/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

That misstep being Wells'. Everyone remembers how he gushed about Burton's Planet of the Apes-remake, I assume?

4/26/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Saw it last night, and I just finished reading Wells's non-review review. What jumped out at me was this typical Wellsian line:

There is no basis for any substantive quarrel with any movie that does what it sets out to do, and this $150 million action thriller does that.

He did this in the Apes review, too:

I can imagine some critics going to town and trashing it, but they'd have to be real sourpusses.

It's a stance of weakness, to attribute questionable motives to anyone who might disagree. But believe me, everything you thought you knew about the movie before reading Wells's review is right.

4/27/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think I'm going to queue up the Gutenberg version; it also has Peter Weller, Rutger Hauer, and a Baldwin brother that I didn't even know existed!

And I liked Burton's Ape movie. It had a chimp in a spacesuit, what else could you ask for!?

The problem with Poseidon is that it doesn't even look badgood (at least the original had that going for it). It just looks like a cliched, unnecessary piece of garbage that was only made to fill the "requisite summer disaster movie" slot for 2006.

It needs something like a chimp in one of those old-fashioned diving suits with the round metal helmets. I would see that film in an instant. Scuba Chimp...Scubanzee...The Life Apequatic. Shit, I'm off on a tangent, aren't I?

This is the Petersen I hate. This is the guy who took Greek mythology out of the Iliad and still expected it to be a watchable film. I want the Petersen who made The Neverending Story and Enemy Mine to come back.

4/27/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

The Planet of the Apes remake was so-so, with an ending that made no sense, and that it was directed by Tim Burton depressed me, as it seemed he was slumming. Helena Bonham Carter did make a sexy simian, though.

4/27/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Helena Bonham Carter did make a sexy simian, though.

I was just going to say the same thing, Jack. That was a really sexy ape.

Other than that, the only thing I'll remember the other Planet of the Apes for is one of the strangest scenes in movie history. The one that ends with Charlton Heston in a monkey-suit handing over an uzi to monkey-suit Tim Roth shouting "damn them all to hell!"

I could write a four page essay on that scene alone.

4/27/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Professor Wagstaff said...

Interesting reading that Wells review after all these years. This comment was particularly interesting:

In short, I'm giving it a pass because it's a monkey movie. It's not supposed to be Battleship Potemkin or A Letter to Three Wives,

Feels a bit double-standardish from someone who bemoans the general public for having low levels of expectations when going to see a Summer popcorn flick.

Also, this is the third time I can recall where Wells, after being very negative about an upcoming remake of a classic movie, upon seeing it gives it a bigger rave then what was the general consensus of the film (Planet of the Apes, Poseidon, The Manchurian Candidate). He even said the Demme Manchurian remake was better then the original! I saw it, and while it was pretty good it was nowhere near as memorable and I can't think of too many others who thought it was superior to the 1962 version.

As for Burton's 'Planet of the Apes' remake, I saw it at the cinema and while I recall generally enjoying it while watching it, a couple of weeks afterward the film had virtually evaporated from my mind with no one sequenece being memorable enough to stick in the memory.

4/28/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

I'm not sure which I found more dreadful, Burton's remake of Apes or his remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

As for Poseiden -- I picked up a copy of Troy at the library and had a decent enough time with it. I pretty much expect to do the same with Poseiden.

4/28/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I actually think that Troy is superior to Poseidon. The former at least had some watchable performances, and while it was ultimately very silly, I thought Petersen was at least trying. I didn't think that was the case with Poseidon.

4/28/2006 01:27:00 PM  

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