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The plot centers on the SS Poseidon, a 135,000-ton state-of-the-art luxury cruise ship on a cruise from Cape Town, South Africa to Sydney, Australia as well as the stories and dramas of some of the 3,700 passengers and crew.
Passenger and father, Richard Clarke, is having an affair with Shoshana, a crew member. His family is drifting away from him and his wife, Rachael, kicks him out of the family's stateroom. Dylan, their 12-year-old son witnesses this and is devastated. His older sister, Shelby, is in nursing school and falls in love with the ship's doctor Ballard. On New Year's Eve, a bomb planted by a group of terrorists explodes. A second bomb is planned to explode, but was earlier dismantled by sea marshal, Rogo. Because water is now entering only one side of the ship, it tips over throwing many people to their deaths. As the ship continues to tilt, the center of gravity on the ship causes it to flip completely into an upside-down position. Many passengers and crew are injured, crippled, or killed. Ballard's arm is seriously injured. Shelby and one of the showgirls are trapped on a table that is secured to the floor, which is now the ceiling. They are both rescued. Shelby and Ballard then begin helping the injured. A small group of survivors, including Shelby's mother, prepare to escape the sinking ship through the hole left by the bomb. The cruise director convinces most survivors in the ballroom to stay, telling them the ship is not sinking. Shelby decides to stay and help the injured, but knows her mother and younger brother need to leave before it's too late. The others leave the ballroom as Shelby's mother promises to leave traces where the group has gone. They then painfully depart and Shelby waves to her mother with a bloody hand as episode one ends.
Episode two begins with the navy realizing that the S.S. Poseidon has gone missing, and they send out a rescue team. In one of the Poseidon crew quarters, Richard and Shoshana reach the ballroom through an air vent. Shelby confronts Shoshona, as Richard decides to follow Rachael and the others with Ballard, Shelby, and Shoshana. As they leave the ballroom, a huge amount of water rushes into the ballroom, killing everyone who didn't listen to Richard. Meanwhile, Rogo's group splits up with Rogo taking the terrorist into deeper water to question him, while the rest of the group continues on the path to rescue. Rogo meets up with Richard's group and they all meet up again in the area where the bomb exploded. The debris is too packed to get through. When the navy arrives, their explosives make it even more impossible to get out that way. They are forced to go through the engine room to detonate the other bomb and blast their way out. As they cross a fiery abyss left by the engines on a fallen cat walk, Shoshana and the terrorist die as the others escape. They find the other bomb, detonate it and successfully open a hole in the hull. The survivors jump into the water, swim to nearby rescue boats. The survivors watch as Poseidon sinks, while Suzanne Harrison, a British agent who had been helping out, laments the fact that there are so few survivors.
- Adam Baldwin as Sea Marshal Mike Rogo
- Rutger Hauer as Bishop August Schmidt
- Steve Guttenberg as Richard Clarke
- Bryan Brown as Jeffrey Eric Anderson
- Alexa Hamilton as Rachel Clarke
- Tinarie Van Wyk-Loots as Aimee Anderson
- C. Thomas Howell as Doctor Matthew Ballard
- Amber Sainsbury as Shelby Clarke
- Sylvia Syms as Belle Rosen
- Nathalie Boltt as Shoshanna
- Peter Weller as Captain Paul Gallico
- Alex Kingston as Suzanne Harrison
- Clive Mantle as James Martin
- Rory Copus as Dylan Clarke
- Geoffrey Pierson as Admiral Jennings
- Peter Dobson as Agent Percy
- Andrew Brent as Ronald Acre
- Peter Butler as Badawi
The film was made for television by Larry Levenson Productions, directed by John Putch, written by Bryce Zabel, starring Adam Baldwin, Rutger Hauer and Steve Guttenberg. It was first aired on NBC as a single three-hour event on November 20, 2005. It also aired in 2005 on the Seven Network in Australia (with the name The New Poseidon Adventure), and in 2006 on the USA Network in the United States. In this adaptation, the plot differs from the original book and first feature film in that the ship capsized because of a terrorist act. Though many of the characters remained the same, several were added. Some were dropped altogether. The character of Mike Rogo was changed to a sea marshal who works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The story was altered because it was felt that the original's disaster was unrealistic since a tsunami out on the open sea is only a few inches high and does not have the strength and size to seriously affect a large vessel.
The film's final scenes include details from the novel of the Poseidon's sinking that were not part of the 1972 film adaptation. The final shot was from the air as the ship's propellers slipped beneath the surface, which, by design or coincidence, matches several photographs taken by a news plane of the final moments of the SS Andrea Doria in 1956.
- RMS Titanic
- RMS Lusitania
- SS Andrea Doria
- SS Poseidon (fictional ship)
- The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
- Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979)
- Poseidon (2006)
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- The Poseidon Adventure at Rotten Tomatoes