Beyond The Poseidon Adventure

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Matthew Lips

Mar 8, 2001
In a moment of madness I bought this on video from Amazon and watched it for the first time since it (briefly) hit the cinemas in 1979. To my surprise, it wasn't quite as bad as I remembered.

Of course it amounts to a blatant attempt to wring the last cent out of the Poseidon concept, which did after all give birth to a veritable string of disaster flicks, and this is something which even the movie's producers would probably not have denied. For all its many faults, though, it stands up reasonably well as an adventure story in its own right even if it cannot hold a candle to its predecessor.

It is, to my mind, the second best movie to feature the name Poseidon. Given the nature of 1970s special effects, it is a better film than either the 2005 Hallmark remake or the paper-thin 2006 "Poseidon."

The characters, walking cliches though they may be, are better fleshed out than in either of the two recent remakes. In part this is helped by the strength of the cast in Beyond, which included two future Academy Award winners in Sally Field and Michael Caine to go with several other accomplished performers - including a very young Mark Harmon.

Beyond manages to be reasonably gripping as periodic explosions rip through the overturned Poseidon. This, despite the fact that we know the ship cannot possibly explode and/or sink while the entire cast of the movie is still inside! By and large, the special effects are well up to the standards of the original.

Of course it's cheesy. So was the Poseidon Adventure itself. Hatchways, deck plans, and whatever else Caine and his merry band require to navigate around the ship always turn up in the most convenient spots. Cliches abound. The blind passenger whom Caine refuses to leave behind. The former Army sergeant who thinks her daughter's male friend is interested in one thing only, as if anybody would be thinking about sex when trapped inside a capsized liner! The Texas oil millionaire who turns out to be a penniless wine steward, the bad guys (headed by Telly Savalas) - they're all straight out of the stereotypes drawer. So is Karl Malden's character (who is dying of cancer and predictably sacrifices himself at the end. Michael Caine is a penniless salvage man who turns out to have a heart of gold, etc. etc.

But, who cares? This is not a film which is meant to be taken seriously (nor was its predecessor, for that matter!). The final shoot-out scene is pretty lame, to be honest, and of course the dear old Poseidon (having miraculously survived upside down through two movies) finally blows up and takes the bad guys with her....but, really, it's actually quite a lot of fun. It was never meant to be an Oscar candidate for best screenplay, after all!
But who cares?

Jon Meadows

I think that Sally Field was at her absolute cutest in this movie. I rented the DVD this weekend and while I enjoyed it, I couldn't help feeling that it was a missed opportunity.
Feb 21, 2005
Screw it, I'll probably buy this one just to have the whole "Poseidon" collection, but I hear it's more laughable than anything else. Look forward to seeing it though. I've sat through some doozies when it comes to ocean liner flicks.
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