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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Poseidon - Two Disc Special Edition

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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted August 08 2006 - 04:42 AM

Two Disc Special Edition

Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2006
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 99 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Color/B&W: Color
Languages: English, French & Spanish
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $34.98
Package: Two discs/Regular hinged Keepcase with an attractive lenticular slipcover case.

The Feature:
Warner’s new Poseidon has all the markings of a fun-filled quality-action disaster film. Top notch stars, an impressive budget (affording the film some impressive CGI visuals) and fodder that seems to make the news quite often lately (and since this reviewer just returned from Alaska on a cruise ship, it’s news that’s been watched here vigilantly). And in the end, its goal is never lofty as the 99 minutes running time never approaches the epic-length of usual-fare disaster films.

This is where you think to yourself, “there’s a but coming”. Well yes, yes there is.

The film is directed by the no-stranger-to-water director, Wolfgang Peterson. The Poseidon is sailing on New Year’s Eve when a crewman intuitively senses an enormous wave which immediately results in the ship being turned upside down. The ship’s captain (played by Andre Braugher) calls for calm and directs his passengers to remain in the watertight ballroom as a place of safety.

After the stage is set, the prototypical personality character studies come into play as we spend the remainder of the film with a group of floating tourists who decide to take refuge on their own. Included in the group are the typical heroes, Dylan Johns (played by Josh Lucas), Robert Ramsey (played by Kurt Russell) and his daughter Jennifer (played by Emmy Rossum) as well the unlikable Lucky Larry (played by Kevin Dillon) and Maggie (played by Jacinda Barrett). Even on-the-fringe cruiser Richard Nelson (played by Richard Dreyfuss) who is reeling from a recent breakup is included in the group.

Needless to say what follows are a series of events that are beyond preposterous. Beyond the liner simply managing to stay afloat, there are explosions, lights that seem to miraculously come on when necessary (not to mention flashlights and batteries in surplus). And then there’s the so-called sea-faring experts who are capable of finding the ship’s charts, navigating it in the dark as well as possessing a broad understanding of it’s overall mechanics (I, on the other hand, had a difficult time navigating the buffet on the Lido Deck during one of my ravenous episodes in broad daylight…).

While the film never seems to take itself too seriously (thank goodness), it’s hard to believe it was directed by Wolfgang Petersen who was responsible for one of the best submariner films ever in Das Boot (1981) but also, In the Line of Fire (1993) and The Perfect Storm from 2000. While similarities are evident between this film and his 2000 film, The Perfect Storm, make no mistake, Poseidon is not on the same level as his previous water installments.

The Feature: 2.5/5

Fantastic…! Presented in its OAR of 2.35:1 (enhanced) aspect ratio, this film looks fantastic. While most of the film is dark (staircases, air ducts, dimly shot atmosphere etc), even these darker shots look very nice and well defined. Colors are rendered well, even though they’re not given the chance to be vibrant (save for the ballroom sequence).

Image definition was very good and mostly sharp – a slightly sharper image would have been more appreciated, although this was more than satisfactory. Wider and longer shots were soft although this may have been the original photography – not having seen this theatrically, I cannot confirm this. There is virtually no film grain and the overall look of the film is nicely textured with a pleasing sense of dimensionality.

The print is immaculate and free of any marks or blemishes as we would expect for a brand new film. The film was basically free of any artifacts and the authoring seems to have been handled perfectly. Edge enhancement was virtually non-existent.

Projected on a 96” screen, this video transfer looked excellent.

Video: 4.5/5

Now this is where the transfer really shines. The DD 5.1 track on Poseidon is very impressive. This is an aggressive track which is guaranteed to give your system a healthy workout. Something which really stood out was the expansiveness of the track. With the music and various scoring, the track is as wide as you could ever imagine with nice separation. There’s a ton of explosions and action filled sequences and dialogue was never lost or in competition, always coming across bold and intelligible.

The level of dynamic response was terrific. Bass response was also gratifying. There are plenty of scenes with punchy effects and the track does a terrific job at delivering. Speaking of bass response, LFE was present aplenty with constant rumbling and various explosions – yet never sounding bloated. The bass was always tight and responsive. Your surrounds will also get a fantastic workout. It’s been awhile since I’ve experienced a new release with such an active use of surrounds. Rarely do a few seconds go by without various bits of discreet surround information being passed along – be it music from the initial ballroom sequence, gushing water or the creaking of the big ship. Most importantly, these are employed tactfully and never sound gimmicky.

The track falls just short of some of the best ones I’ve experienced and earns almost full marks.

Audio: 4.75/5
[img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img] 3/4

Special Features:
While the majority of special features on the set can be found on Disc Two, the following features show up on Disc One:

  • Poseidon: A Ship On A Soundstage. While this piece discusses the original ’72 version, much of the focus of this feature is the elaborate sets that were created for the shoot - a large undertaking indeed. Also discussed and shown are various storyboards and an assortment of water shots. A number of cast and crew members including the director, Wolfgang Petersen appear here. Duration: 22:41 minutes.

  • The Theatrical Trailer which is the only other feature here, is also included and is in perfect condition. Duration: 1:44 minutes.

    Disc Two:

  • Poseidon: Upside Down is basically a continuation from the soundstage feature on disc one. More discussion regarding the sets that were created and the need for the creation of an upside down set for the ship’s capsizing effect. Duration: 10:45 minutes.

  • A Shipmates Diary plays on the lighter side and is basically a video diary taken by Petersen’s assistant, Malona Voight. This piece borders on fluff as things like Bar-B-Ques and various extra cast members are featured. Duration: 12:21 minutes.

  • Rogue Waves is a documentary from The History Channel which discusses the unexplained phenomenon. Duration: 28:36 minutes.

    Special Features: 2.5/5

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**

    Final Thoughts:
    Having grown up in the 70’s, it is the opinion of this reviewer that it was a time period that didn’t leave us much to be thankful for (beyond the exceptional music, of course). However, one of the things to come out that era, were well made and entertaining disaster films. And while this tries very hard to compete as a modern day version of the superior 1972 version of The Poseidon Adventure, it comes no where close.

    While the presentation is an impressive one, the special features are downright disappointing. That, combined with a rather weak film, and this reviewer’s recommendation doesn’t go beyond that of a rental. However, if you are interested in a purchase, this film is available as a single disc version, and you’ll save a couple of bucks as the second disc and its contents are rather lackluster. If you’re interested in an exercise of suspension disbelief, this should make for an entertaining Friday night.

    Overall Rating: 3/5 (not an average)

    Release Date: August 22nd, 2006
    My Top 25 Noirs:

    25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

    #2 of 23 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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    Posted August 08 2006 - 05:41 AM

    Thanks for the review Herb, hopefully I will pick this up very soon.
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    #3 of 23 OFFLINE   Harold Wazzu

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    Posted August 08 2006 - 07:54 AM

    I expect Best Buy, Circuit City, and/or Target will have some kind of exclusive disc. Until that info is available I'm not sure who I'll get it from. Also, I believe I read some where that one of those retailers will be having a lenticular cover. Disc 2 does look disappointing to say the least...

    #4 of 23 OFFLINE   Jordan_E



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    Posted August 08 2006 - 08:43 AM

    Will rent this one for sure, as I know it will be good for one eyes-rolling, snide-comment-spewing, crank-that-soundtrack-UP viewing, at least.
    And you believe, at heart, everyone's a killer...

    #5 of 23 OFFLINE   Richard Michael Clark

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    Posted August 08 2006 - 10:23 AM

    What a waste of a 2-disc edition! This practice is becoming more and more prevalent from Warners recently. Witness a similarly lacklustre 2-disc edition of 'V for Vendetta'. It's barely worth pressing the damn things!

    #6 of 23 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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    Posted August 08 2006 - 01:22 PM

    I think 2-DVD sets sound more impressive, so people buy them - they sound "deluxe". With this and Vendetta, WB sure are giving us some Really Not Very Special Editions, though...
    Colin Jacobson

    #7 of 23 OFFLINE   Dave Vaughn

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    Posted August 09 2006 - 04:20 PM

    Herb, After viewing so much HD DVD content lately, I was underwhelmed by the video on this disc...granted, for DVD is was pretty good, but knowing the title will be out in 4 short months on HD DVD I considered my first viewing a warm-up for what will surely be an extemely impressive HD DVD release.
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    #8 of 23 OFFLINE   TheBat



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    Posted August 09 2006 - 04:51 PM

    I saw this movie in theatres.. it was not a good movie to say the least.. the director's perfect storm was even better then this. or troy for that matter. Jacob

    #9 of 23 OFFLINE   Tino


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    Posted August 09 2006 - 10:10 PM

    I enjoyed Poseidon tremendously. It was a blast from beginning to end. I'll be picking this one, and the eventual HD version too.

    Peterson and everyone involved did a great job.Posted Image
    It's gonna be a hell of a ride. I'm ready. .

    #10 of 23 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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    Posted August 10 2006 - 03:13 AM

    Dave... I'd agree that if we were to compare it to an HD presentation, we might very well be underwhelmed. However, for an SD presentation I thought everything looked pretty good and the audio presentation was absolutely superb. I think we must be careful to not let HD get in the way of SD reviews. As good as HD DVD has been, I am constantly reminded how good SD can be when done right.
    My Top 25 Noirs:

    25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

    #11 of 23 OFFLINE   James@R


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    Posted August 10 2006 - 04:02 AM

    I also thought it was fun. Maybe it's because everyone else was expecting an epic, Titanic-style film or either "A Film By Wolfgang Peterson"? I just went in expecting a great B movie, which is all I really ever considered the first film. After all, this is Snake Plissken in an upside-down boat!

    #12 of 23 OFFLINE   SteveJKo


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    Posted August 10 2006 - 07:34 AM

    This was the closest I've ever come to walking out of a theatre, and an Imax one at that! The friends I was with insisted it could only get better as it went along. They ended up wishing we had walked out in time to be reimbursed. On the technical side I would think this film would show off a home theatre sound system very well. Though in Imax I found it more assaultive than immersive.
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    #13 of 23 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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    Posted August 22 2006 - 01:19 AM

    Good review Herb.....I decided to order the 2 disc version from Amazon considering that it was only $16.99 (2 bucks more than the single disc- I guess they aren't expecting big sales with this film). I also like this kind of film from time to time....eye and ear candy without much substance. Posted Image
    Recently watched- Insidious: Chapter 2, Emperor Of The North, Young Justice: Season 1, Exit Humanity, U Turn, The Dead 2, Chappie, The Sentinel(1977), 10 To Midnight, Fury, Gone Girl, Furious 7, WKRP In Cincinnati: Season 4, Apollo 13, Zulu(1964), Runner Runner, A Good Day To Die Hard, The Gunman(2015), The Walking Dead: Season 5, Homefront

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    #14 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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    Posted August 23 2006 - 07:08 AM

    The special features (or lack of 'em) were a let down to say the least. Warner could have easily put everything onto 1 disc instead of releasing the pricier 2 disc set. Tsk tsk.

    #15 of 23 OFFLINE   Kevin Presley

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    Posted August 23 2006 - 01:17 PM

    Watched the DVD tonight and actually really enjoyed this. I guess I don't see what was so wrong with it, and I am by no means a Peterson fan. It was a little over the top in some places, but for popcorn fare, it was good. I also thoroughly enjoyed the stunts and effects. Count me in the minority here.

    #16 of 23 OFFLINE   Adam_WM



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    Posted August 23 2006 - 01:24 PM

    2nd disc with not even an hour of features? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I'll probably NETFLIX this one.


    #17 of 23 OFFLINE   Legairre


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    Posted August 27 2006 - 12:45 PM

    I watched this one last night and while I thought the movie was a good popcorn flick, based on the review in this thread I thought the sound track would be "aggressive", but it wasn't. The surrounds were lacking and the movie was mostly front heavy in sound. The LFE was OK, but nothing to brag about. Now before everyone says it must be my system, my system is AVIA calibrated and consist of the following audio gear Monitor Audio Sliver "S" speakers Hsu VTF-3 MK2 sub with turbo Sherwood P965 pre amp Rotel RMB-1095(200x5) amp Rotel RB-1050 (70x2) amp Outlaw ICBM Anyone else think the review of the audio didn't match what they heard?

    #18 of 23 OFFLINE   Travis Brashear

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    Posted August 27 2006 - 01:59 PM

    I disagree--I thought THE PERFECT STORM was the cinematic equivalent of nails on a chalkboard; now I'm not foolish enough not to realize that many legitimate complaints can be made about POSEIDON, but the crucial difference between the two films is TPS thought it was actually meaningful and powerful storytelling, when POSEIDON had no such pretensions; for my money, that makes all the difference.
    Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
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    #19 of 23 OFFLINE   Tino


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    Posted August 27 2006 - 02:47 PM

    But it was.Posted Image
    It's gonna be a hell of a ride. I'm ready. .

    #20 of 23 OFFLINE   Matthew Marino

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    Posted August 27 2006 - 03:19 PM

    I agree with Travis. The Perfect Storm was unintentionally laughable at times and I don't think it really delivered on any level. Poseidon isn't high art by any means but it does what it needs to. Instead of tacking on and exploring pointless side stories it pretty much bypasses them (though there are some very mild ones but very little screen time is dedicated to them.) It's kind of refreshing to have a lean movie like this when movies just seem to be getting longer and longer.

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