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Beyond the Poseidon Adventure

Warner Bros. // PG // August 22, 2006
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted August 24, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

The original 1972 The Poseidon Adventure was a rock solid seventies action-disaster film with a great cast, great effects, and a great storyline. It did very well at the box office and so it goes without saying that an inevitable sequel would eventually go into production, thus, Beyond The Poseidon Adventure was born. It died a quick death, as it wasn't very good, but through the magic of DVD (and cross marketing to tie into the DVD release of the 2006 remake of The Poseidon Adventure it's back, whether we like it or not.

For those who haven't seen the original film that this sequel follows, you'll need to know that the boat got hit by a tidal wave and that it capsized. It's here that Beyond The Poseidon Adventure picks up when we meet a tugboat captain named Mike Turner (Michael Caine of the original Get Carter) who, in a completely selfish move, plans to get on the boat before she sinks to the bottom and rests on the ocean floor so that he can snag whatever valuables he might find and claim rights to the salvage that's left in its wake. Turner's not alone on his boat, however, he's accompanied by his crew made up of Wilbur (Karl Malden of Dario Argento's Cat O' Nine Tails) and Celeste (Sally Field of Smokey & The Bandit) who are there to help him out. While it's hard to picture cute little Sally Field as a tugboat worker, she's there nonetheless. Just accept it and move on.

Turner brings his boat in towards the sinking Poseidon and he and his two pals board the ship only to run into Captain Stefan Svevo (Telly Savalas of Kojak) and his band of merry thugs. Clad entirely in white and looking like the Glad garbage-bag man's long lost brother, Svevo tells the would be salvage workers that he and his crew are a medical team and that they need to back off and let them do their thing. Turner falls for the ploy and he lets Svevo and his guys into the ship first where they find an entry hole left there by the coast guard that must have shown up at some point to save people.

So with Turner and his workers in there looking for booty and Svevo and his workers in there looking to help whatever survivors might be left (there's a few of them kicking around that the coast guard must have missed, one of whom is played by Peter Boyle of Taxi Driver and another by Slim Pickens of Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid), it should be all good, right? Wrong! Svevo was lying, and he's got an ulterior motive. In fact, he's not a doctor at all and he could care less who lives or dies as long as he gets what he came here for in the first place. Conflict ensues, and everyone finds themselves in a race against time and each other with the boat sinking faster than many of them seem to realize.

So the storyline for the film, while hardly amazing, isn't bad the fact that there are a few too many slips in the movie to be able to take it seriously. The ship is sinking on an angle when we see the exterior but when we're inside, everything is perfectly level. No one ever takes a flashlight with them or worries about the fact that they'll be in complete darkness because the lights never once go off. The hull of the boat, from the exterior, looks brand new despite the fact that it was supposed to have been built in the thirties. Little things like that, coupled with the fact that most of the characters are cookie cutter copies of disaster movie clichés we've all seen before, makes it all a little tough to swallow.

The performances in the movie are all over the place. Slim Pickens provides some comic relief as the 'rich drunk guy' and Sally Fields is as cute as they come but Savalas goes over the top a little bit from time to time. Although it's fun in a campy way to watch him ham it up, it doesn't really lend much credibility to movie already on shaky ground in that regard. Michael Caine does lend a little bit of class to the movie and he isn't bad at all but he can only do so much with the material and he's got a few lines here will likely make you groan, even if his delivery is decent enough.

If the movie weren't so completely by the number and utterly predictable it might be easy enough to look past some of the sketchiness that runs rampant throughout the entire production but the fact is that Beyond The Poseidon Adventure holds no surprises for anyone who has seen a disaster film before.



Warner Brothers does their usual fine job on this 2.20.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The colors look quite nice for a seventies film and while there is some moderate grain in a few scenes (you'll notice it in the opening scene almost right from the start – it starts to clean up about five minutes in, however) there aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts. Print damage is kept to a minimum and it's really only noticeable as the odd speck or scratch here and there and there aren't any glaring instances of damage to report. The black levels throughout the film look quite nice and the flesh tones look lifelike and natural. There is some mild edge enhancement and noticeable line shimmering in a few scenes but it isn't overpowering and for the most part this DVD does look quite good.


Beyond The Poseidon Adventure is presented in a perfectly suitable Dolby Digital Mono track in its original English language with and optional French language dubbed track provided, also in Mono. Removable subtitles are included in English, French and Spanish for the feature only, and there is an English closed captioning option available, also for the feature only. The quality on the English track is pretty decent. While there are a few spots in the film that are a little bit on the flat side, likely a result of the source material and not of the DVD, there aren't any problems with hiss or distortion present in the mix at all and the dialogue, the most important part of this film, comes through clean and clear enough to get the job done without any problems.


The biggest and best of the extra features on this release is a vintage twenty-two minute look at how the film was put together entitled, aptly enough, Behind The Scenes Of Beyond The Poseidon Adventure. In here we're treated to a few interviews with the cast and crewmembers and some nice behind the scenes footage and photographs. It's fairly interesting to see certain portions of the film discussed in a bit of technical detail and there are some amusing stories told in here.

Other than that, Warner Brothers gives us a trailer for the feature in addition to trailers for The Swarm, The Perfect Storm and Twister and of course there are menus and chapter selection options included.

Final Thoughts:

While Warner Brothers has done a fine job on the technical aspects of the DVD release, Beyond The Poseidon Adventure still feels like a cheap cash in on the success of the original (and far superior) film. In that respect, this DVD release feels like a cash-in on the recent big budget remake. Either way, this movie is still a stinker. A few good cast members and interesting ideas make it worth a rental for the curious and the making of featurette is kind of cool but the lack of replay value thanks to the quality of the feature itself keeps this one out of the essential pile.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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