Other than 1974’s “The Towering Inferno,” “The Poseidon Adventure” is likely the most famous disaster movie of the ’70s, and while it certainly hasn’t aged well, it’s still a ton of fun. I’m a sucker for disaster movies like this so I enjoyed it tremendously, just about from the opening credits: It’s pure ’70s cheese in the best possible way, with an abundance of characters played by a variety of famous faces like Ernest Borgnine and Gene Hackman, and while none of the characters are particularly well-written or well-developed, they at least register enough for the audience to care about their fate. The movie’s main centerpiece is the sequence where the titular cruise ship is turned upside down after getting hit by a freak wave, and despite being dated as all heck, it still works: You can practically feel the tension as the survivors attempt to escape the overturned cruise ship, largely thanks to the Ronald Neame’s sure-handed camera, which keeps the focus on the plight of the characters instead of the admittedly impressive sets. It creates an intimacy that’s unexpected given the movie’s scale, and creates surprisingly poignant moments here and there despite the screenplay’s cheesiness.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)