4
Jun 06

How United 93 Makes Poseidon Better

Do You SeePost a comment • 353 views

Can United 93 be described in terms of Poseidon? Almost certainly not – but it isn’t going to stop me trying. Was it a stroke of genius for both films to be released on the same day in the UK? Almost certainly not. Do they make a good double bill? Without a doubt.

Okay one is an almost unbearable straight telling of tragic events. The other is a hopeless, special effects heavy remake of a pretty poor 1970’s film. But While United 93 allows a degree of catharsis, Poseidon allows it to come out. It has never been clearer to me the point of a poor disaster movie. Seeing fake, meaningless death on a huge scale, death justified by poor characterization rather than random as in United 93, allows us to attempt to make some sort of sense of the world. Of course it is not the actual sense of the world, it is a lie. And that lie includes Kevin Dillon with a ridiculous pencil moustache dying because he is a bit rude to the ostensible hero of the film.

Oddly there is about as much characterization of the leads in both films. Poseidon is a bad disaster movie, the lack of characterization is just poor writing. United 93 is a tremendous piece of work whose lack of characterization exists to illustrate the reality, the ordinariness of the set-up. You can’t talk after United 93, what is there to say. You can’t help but talk after and even me during Poseidon, even if its just to speculate when Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas is going to get it (and she does get it as she is not white, which is unfortunately the reactionary subtext of Poseidon).

Contrast is often the best form of artistic appreciation, and these two films contrast almost perfectly. The devastation of United 93 is restored by the jokey cheapness of Poseidon. Perhaps those buttons should never be reset, but you can’t walk around depressed all the time, so Poseidon comes out this weekend as being much more worthwhile than expected.

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