A cruise ship captain breaks down Kurt Russell’s 2006 disaster movie, blasting the movie for its unrealistic explosions and escalated sense of panic.
- Poseidon, the 2006 remake of The Poseidon Adventure, failed to impress critics and audiences, with a low Rotten Tomatoes score and underwhelming box office performance.
- Real-life ship captain Wendy Williams criticized Poseidon for its unrealistic depiction of cruise ship emergencies, particularly its use of over-dramatic explosions and panicked announcements.
- The addition of state-of-the-art CGI did not improve the remake’s formula or make it more realistic, according to one expert who believes the Hollywood aspects canceled out any sense of accuracy.
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A real-life cruise ship captain breaks down Kurt Russell’s 2006 disaster movie. A remake of the 1972 classic The Poseidon Adventure, Poseidon placed an all-star cast in mortal danger aboard a capsized ocean liner, delivering old-fashioned disaster movie vibes using modern-day computer-generated special effects. Critics unfortunately trashed the movie, as evidenced by its 33% Rotten Tomatoes score, and it was not a big hit at the box office either, grossing just $181 million worldwide on a reported budget of $160 million.
Poseidon not only failed to impress critics and audiences, it also did not impress a cruise ship expert who recently broke down the film in terms of realism. In a video piece for Insider, real-life ship captain Wendy Williams discussed the Russell-led disaster epic, taking the film to task for certain inaccuracies, including its use of over-dramatic explosions. Williams also panned the movie’s depiction of how cruise ship crews handle emergencies, knocking the film’s fictional crew for creating panic among passengers. Check out what the expert said in the space below (beginning around 12:15 of the video clip):
This is dealing with the rogue wave. For a long time, people didn’t even believe that rogue waves actually existed. It’s an anomaly wave that is different from all of the other waves in a certain sea state. And then it could overturn vessels or come at vessels. … Basically, the tip, or the bow, has what’s called a collision bulkhead, and it’s very strong construction. You never really want to take anything broadside, because even in a small sea, a vessel can get into what’s called synchronous, a synchronicity, which will cause it to become very unstable.
The announcements were not appropriate. I felt that they caused panic. And as a captain, you want everybody to know what’s happening, but there are ways to word things to make people feel like their understanding of the situation, this is what’s happening, but I am in the hands of a very trained crew, and if I follow instruction, I will be safe. You would have crew members whose duty it would be to do crowd control. Cruise ships have a fantastic stability criteria, they call it, and it would take a h— of a lot to capsize one of these. Is it going to happen as a result of the general rogue waves that I’ve read about? Not really. Now, if a cruise ship were to go off vertical, these areas that are not watertight would fill with water, causing the capsize. A good example of that we may have seen that maybe people will understand is the Costa Concordia. She went over, and she would’ve kept going over were it not for the depth of water that she was in.
That’s a little bit of a movie thing. You’re not going to really get explosions, because explosions would have to do with vapors catching fire somehow or igniting, and a large amount of vapors in an area causing these random explosions. And on cruise ships, you just don’t have that in the accommodation. I can’t think of something that would cause those fireballs.
CGI Failed To Make Poseidon More Exciting Than The Original
The original 1972 Poseidon Adventure is no cinematic masterpiece, but it was a big hit in its day, grossing $84 million domestically ($502 million if adjusted for inflation) while nabbing a surprising seven Oscar nominations alongside a Special Achievement Oscar for visual effects. A key entry in the disaster film craze of the 1970s, the movie stands alongside other classics of the era like Airport and The Towering Inferno as a schlocky-but-fun watch, filled with overwrought ’70s spectacle, and loads of big stars placed in very uncomfortable situations.
2006’s Poseidon attempted to keep key aspects of that classic disaster movie approach, including the all-star cast, while bringing to bear ILM-created computer effects. The addition of state-of-the-art CGI did not ultimately improve the formula however, as Wolfgang Petersen’s film failed to conjure even the mild thrills delivered by the lower-tech original. CGI certainly did not help the remake achieve greater realism than the original film, at least according to one expert, who believes the overdone Hollywood aspects of the 2006 movie canceled out any sense of accuracy it might have been striving for.