Bottoms Up for New 'Poseidon'

ByABC News via logo
May 10, 2006, 5:47 PM

May 12, 2006 — -- Movies were in trouble back in 1972, when the original version of "The Poseidon Adventure" hit theaters.

They were competing with TV, and one way to bring people into theaters was with huge disaster sagas that were too big to watch at home. We had little TVs back then.

The original also had a huge cast -- Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons and Shelley Winters -- four Oscar-winning actors, among others. One conclusion watching that film and the remake back-to-back: Movies have changed. Audiences have changed.

Still, the story is the same: A luxury cruise ship is knocked upside-down by a 150-foot wave. The mission for the survivors is also the same: Get out. "The Poseidon Adventure" was about the people and their stories.

The new stars -- Josh Lucas, Emmy Rossum and Kurt Russell (a personal favorite) -- are good actors, but this "Poseidon" isn't about this cast, especially Matt Dillon's brother -- Kevin Dillon -- who was so inept, I kept thinking he was one of the Baldwins, minus Alec.

A classic moment from the original: Winters, who received another Oscar nod for her role, dives underwater and swims through a flooded corridor, sacrificing her life to save Hackman's. "I was a great swimmer in high school," she tells the others, who beg her not to go.

The new stars still have to swim underwater, and one of the characters repeats the same line as Winters did. But the updated film isn't about people or their stories.

Here's how the movie has changed in 34 years: In the original, it took almost an hour for the ballroom to implode and the panic to sink in. The new "Poseidon" is an e-ticket Disney World ride with Fastpass. Ten minutes in, the wave hits, you're underwater, gasping for breath and fighting for your life.

Audiences today wouldn't stand for an hour of exposition before the flood hit. In fact, they wouldn't stand; they'd walk out. Watching the original -- with so many stars, so many stories -- you wondered whether they'd drown first in seawater or schmaltz.

This one, all they need is the boat. And the water. (Grade: B+)

In "Just My Luck," Lindsay Lohan plays the luckiest girl in the world. She calls a cab, and every cab in New York stops. She needs a dress, and her dry cleaner delivers Sarah Jessica Parker's by mistake. And it fits. Then she kisses the unluckiest boy in New York, and both their luck changes.

This is Lohan's first real almost-grown-up romantic comedy. And, you know, it's romantic and it's a comedy.

Very well directed, nothing unseemly, "Just My Luck" is a film moms can take their daughters to. They'll both love it. And it's dry. (Grade: B-)