The Poseidon Adventure (1972) & San Andreas (2015)

 

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SA 3One of my wife’s peeves is when a cashier, especially one younger than her, calls her “Hun” or some other term of endearment.

Recently I was checking out at Lowe’s. During the course of one transaction the cashier called me “Hun”, “Sweetheart”, AND “Darlin”. Fortunately, Jenny wasn’t with me. She would’ve controlled herself of course, but I hate to see her capillaries put under such stress.

What does this have to do with these movies? Nothing. So let’s move on.

These two movies, although made 43 years apart, have much in common; they’re well-made, exciting, and have charismatic characters who you hope won’t die.

So Hun, let’s start with The Poseidon Adventure (1972). This was the first “grown-up” movie Jenny was allowed to watch. It tells the story of a cruise ship turned upside down by a tidal wave, and a small group of passengers trying to climb “up” to the bottom of the ship where they hope to get rescued.

This movie was made before CGI effects existed. Everything you see was done with full size sets, real water, real fire, and real people (and for many of the stunts, real actors). The impressive scenes of the ship were done with a detailed scale model. All this adds to the realism of what you see happening. CGI effects can be amazing, but nothing beats reality.

It’s  a fantastic set of actors: Gene Hackmen, playing the hip rebellious priest who won’t wear a collar, just a turtleneck (which I think are cool; not rebellious priests-but turtlenecks), ex-cop played by Ernest Borgnine (pictured below), and ex-swimming athlete by actress Shelly Winters are at the top of the list.

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There are also a few annoying people in this movie, but hey, that’s part of life too, isn’t it?

The movie has a bit of an edge to it. Nowadays, when you see a movie made for popular commercial consumption (such as San Andreas) you feel pretty confident the main characters all survive. Because if they didn’t, well, that would be sad. And sadness isn’t conducive to making a lot of money. In the 60’s and 70’s however, film makers weren’t afraid to disappoint an audience a little to deliver a powerful movie.  When some of the main characters in The Poseidon Adventure start dropping like flies, you’re not so sure who, if anyone, will survive to the end.

I like that this movie was shot in sequence. It adds to the feel that as the movie progressed, the actors got more tired, dirty, and sometimes even hurt. According to IMDB.com, all the actors at one point complained to the production staff about how difficult the shoot was physically.

Now Darlin’, onto the next movie, San Andreas (2015). Many probably dismissed this movie when they saw who was starring in it: Dwayne Johnson. You may have heard of him by his professional name, The Rock. A former professional wrestler. Not an Olympic wrestler… the other kind. Right.

That being said, he does a fine job here. He comes across as a likable character. All the main characters do for that matter. And that’s what makes it more than just a typical special effects showcase.

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And what a showcase it is! We recently saw it for the second time with some friends who hadn’t yet seen it. We knew what was going to happen, but we were still squirming and “ducking” in our seats as the characters escaped one situation after another. Helicopters, trucks, planes, parachutes, and boats are all used as The Rock, his wife (Carla Gugino), and daughter (Alexandra Daddario) deal with earthquakes, collapsing buildings, looters, tsunamis, and a building sinking into water.

I also like the fact that The Rock’s character is a fireman/helicopter rescue pilot, yet after the earthquake hits, even though obviously his helicopter could be used to help many people, he doesn’t check in with headquarters; nope, he just takes off to get his family. Well done.

So I’m tellin ya Sweetheart, if you want to have an exciting time, try one of these. Or better yet, make it a double-feature. I’m sure The Rock won’t mind.

 

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