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Plunges the depths
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album cover copyright (c) 2006 Interscope; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall
Part of the charm of The Poseidon Adventure (the original one!) was very much the peculiar sense of innocence which seemed to find its way into all those 1970s disaster movies. That, the laughable effects and exhibitions of pure ham from the all-star cast - Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, and all the usual suspects - make it a prime piece of filmic entertainment - and one completely unsuitable for a modern-day updating, since by that very updating everything which makes it so good to watch is removed. Still, Wolfgang Petersen did it anyway (though his all-star cast only features two people you're likely to have heard of, and one of them is Kurt Russell) with results every bit as disastrous as anyone with a brain could have predicted.
John Williams's score for the original is lauded by many, but I have to say not by me - Williams's work on those disaster movies is barely more impressive than his early comedy writing, and it wasn't until he'd left this sort of thing behind that he became such a great composer. Despite that, Klaus Badelt's music for the remake makes Williams's original seem like a musical work on the scale of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony.
Film composers who have a massive budget but choose to use cheap sample patches approximating real instruments should all be locked up and never be allowed to work again, if you ask me. There's just no excuse for it. The dividing line between what a five-year-old could produce by sitting at a computer and pressing a few keys together, and what these "composers" get paid $2m to come up with, has become more and more blurred.
The likes of Klaus Badelt have denigrated the great history of film music and the great composers who have worked in it by putting junk like this in films. OK, so Poseidon might be a junk film, but being junk never stopped Jerry Goldsmith trying to better himself time after time, it didn't stop Elmer Bernstein coming up with one masterpiece after another, it didn't stop Bernard Herrmann writing the most unbelievably complex and magnificent dramatic music even for films which didn't come close to deserving it.
There is nothing of note here. It is barely music at all. It is an unspeakably hideous, completely offensive monstrosity that has no place in a film, and no place on anyone's record shelf. The banality is unending, the vapidness on an unbelievable scale. What makes it worse is the fact that Badelt clearly has something about him (as he demonstrated with his fine music for The Promise earlier this very year) but chooses to produce something as crass and offensive as this. Shame on Petersen for allowing it in his film, and shame on Badelt for having the gall to present it to the public. Unfailingly vile garbage.