The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure

I've never hid my feelings about sequels and remakes. Sure, they can be lazy and big, old cash-cows, but if there's a need to make more movies or an interesting plotline or character(s), then I'm all for it. Same for remakes. If the original sucked or had untapped potential, then fire away. But the other efforts? The purely for the big payday efforts...yeah, here we are today. I watched 1979's Beyond the Poseidon Adventure because I could, because I'm an idiot and...yeah, here's the review.

It's New Year's Eve and Captain Mike Turner (Michael Caine) is on the Mediterranean Sea on his tugboat, the Jenny, with his first mate, partner and friend, crusty seaman, Wilbur (Karl Malden), and a spunky young woman, Celeste (Sally Field), they picked up at their last port. Turner is in some serious financial trouble and will likely see his boat repossessed very soon. But out at sea, they stumble across the floating wreckage of the S.S. Poseidon as a helicopter flies away overhead. Turner's eyes light up. He claims the salvage rights for the ship and taking a huge risk tries to get onto the capsized cruise ship. Turner isn't alone though. Another ship boards, a Dr. Stefan Svevo (Telly Savalas) explaining his ship heard a distress signal and he intends to help any potential survivors. The ship could sink or explode at any moment, but Turner and Co. head into the wreckage, hoping to find some sort of treasure, money, diamonds...if they can survive.

What the hell? I mean, come on. Really? It took Master of Disaster Irwin Allen (directing and producing here) seven years to get this sequel made after the mega-success of 1972's The Poseidon Adventure. I liked the original Poseidon even if I didn't love it. It's hard not to appreciate it for all that it accomplished, influencing whole genres and hundreds of movies since. You know what it didn't call for? A sequel. As in AT ALL. This is an opportunity to make money, pure, plain and simple. Worst than that, it isn't even guilty pleasure good. The cast is interesting as they usually are with disaster movies, but mostly, it is just B-A-D.

It is literally the same movie with one minor change. We've got idiots heading into the sinking ship that is continually rocked with explosions. Sure, the reasons are greed-based (just about everyone can get on-board with that) but really? REALLY?!? And let's think about this for a minute. Does anyone actually believe that Telly Savalas is telling the truth? It's Telly Freaking Savalas. There's simply no way that he is what he says he is. The problem becomes that when the twist is revealed, it is absolutely ridiculous, ending in a gunfight in a cargo hold. So yeah, that happens but the twisting and turning story stretches the limits even for an unnecessary sequel. If it helps your peace of mind (and it should), things don't get better as the running time approaches two hours. It gets worse.

So at this point, the saving grace has to be the star power of the cast. The cast is pretty solid in name recognition, and the formula is the same as most disaster movies. Introduce all our Hollywood stars and see who makes it out relatively unscathed. This was an interesting part of Michael Caine's career, one he's admitted he was in it for the money. There's gems like The Swarm and more into the 1980s, Jaws IV: The Revenge. He was rough in 'Swarm,' but he's actually pretty decent here. He commits to the part/script -- however bad -- and goes for it. Along with Field, Malden and Savalas, there's also Peter Boyle, Jack Warden, Shirley Jones, Shirley Knight, Paul Picerni, Slim Pickens, Mark Harmon, Veronica Hamel, and Angela Cartwright rounding out our assorted ensemble of survivors. Give them some sort of personal background, throw them together and let things fall apart from there. It does so in pretty spectacular fashion.

Things get pretty out of control, truly boring and bad in the second half. The twists are ridiculous, and scene-to-scene, it just feels like everyone is trying too hard. Sally Field is at her disgustingly adorable cutest, always ready with a nervous one-liner in the face of impending doom. Slim Pickens hams it up like his paycheck depended on it and other stuff happens with other actors. Meh, just really bad pretty much from the get-go. Not even guilty pleasure good. Just lousy.

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979): */****


  1. haha, that's one star too many. i got my dvd of this movie autographed by shirley jones and am proud of it for camp value. i really think the plot of pirate types moving in is alright, but my real problem with the movie was sally field acting like she was riding with bandit cross country whilst being stuck in a turned-over ship with michael caine. not that she was the only problem, but she was the big one.

  2. Haha agreed. A spin-off with Field and Slim Pickens could have earned a negative review!