THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. Synopsis.
The movie focuses on the SS Poseidon, an old cruise ship that is on its last journey. The representative for the owners demands that the ship goes faster and as a result the ship is runs into a tsunami, triggered by an underwater earthquake. A small group of passengers struggle to escape, lead by a preacher who is determined that everyone should survive.
Rogo: The husband of Linda. He is the bad guy turned good because he starts off being negative, not helping anybody and going against what the reverend says but when the reverend dies Rogo steps forward as the new hero and leads everyone to safety.
Reverend Scott: A preacher who does not believe in God the way the church does. Throughout the film he is always sure he is right. He is one of the heroes because he leads the focus group to safety, he sacrifices himself so they can escape.
Nonnie: The damsel in distress. She is in a band with her brother until he dies when the ship is capsized. She cries and screams a lot and holds everyone up several times by saying she can not go any further. She is also the self doubter because she holds people back by hesitating and panicking. She only survives because Martin helps her.
Belle Rosen: The unsung hero. She doesn’t show any leadership until Reverend Scott nearly drowns and she comes to his rescue. The effort of holding her breath long enough to save Reverend Scott results in her having a heart attack and dying. Belle is also a sacrifice because she sacrificed her life for the rest of the focus group.
Acres: A crew member who is the first of they focus group to die, as he injured his leg and was unable to keep up.
The disaster happened because: The representative for the ships owners wanted the cruise ship to go as fast as possible. The captain argued that that would be dangerous but the representative wouldn’t listen. An earthquake then triggered a tsunami which turned the ship upside down.
Who was responsible for the disaster?
The man who ordered the ship to go faster. If they had not gone faster they would not have been near the tsunami and they would not have capsized but because the went faster they ended up where the tsunami was, which caused the Poseidon to capsize. The man responsible was greedy and the disaster was a result of hubris. He just wanted to make money and was sure he was right when he wasn’t.
Linda Rogo had to die because she was immoral. She was a former prostitute so she had to punished to show that bad things happen to bad people.
Even though the film was created in an irreligious age there are still highly spiritual motifs and allusions throughout it.
e.g. When Reverend Scott sacrifices himself to save the last few survivors he is hanging from water pressure valve, in an almost mirrored position of Jesus Christ on the crucifix.
In Disaster films, the disaster usually occurs at a climatic point of character’s lives/relationships/problems. As they try to survive the disaster they are fighting internal battles amongst themselves (which makes the disaster a really huge metaphor for growth of humanity and moral lessons)
Characters must learn to depend on themselves (and think for themselves) in order to survive.
“Confirming the characters' need for self-sufficiency, the disaster film plays with ideas of religion in an irreligious age. Religious figures question their faith rather than assert it.”
Reverend Scott, the hero of The Poseidon Adventure, is seen as a maverick in the religious world, denying what the Catholic church has been teaching people for centuries. He believes we should rely on ourselves and shouldn’t need a certain church to tell us how to worship God or act Christian (Be good, kind, forgiving etc.)
He accepts the Jewish passengers just as much as the Christian ones.
The Poseidon Adventure foreshadows the Costa Concordia disaster of 2012 in which 32 people died, 64 people were injured and two are still missing (presumed dead). The disaster occurred because Captain Francesco Schettino deviated from the course he was meant to be taking. He also failed to evacuate three hundred of the passengers and was not the last person to leave the ship (He got in a lifeboat and abandoned his passengers)
The disaster was a result of hubris and had the captain not been so self-absorbed/selfish more lives could have been saved.