Posts Tagged Poseidon

Trojan Women

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE 2012

Trojan Women

The Lancaster Offshoots

The Space at Symposium Hall, Venue 43

Booking Office: 0845 557 7475

Afficianados of Greek Tragedy are spoiled for choice this year as there are three productions of Trojan Women on offer at Fringe 2012.

Trojan Women is a horrifying story of the savagery of war and its effect on four captive women, survivors of the defeated side, who remain in captivity while their Greek captors decide their fate. Troy has been destroyed and their menfolk are all dead.

Hecuba, the ousted queen of Troy, tries in vain to get her two daughters, Andromache and Cassandra, to stick together with Helen (whose carrying off to Troy precipitated the Trojan war) as they wait to hear what their Greek captors plan to do with them.  In the background, the quarrelling gods, Athena and Poseidon make playthings of their lives.

Andromache is consumed by hatred of Helen whom she blames for all the troubles that have been heaped on her. Apart from Hecuba, no-one comes out of this Greek tragedy well. The gods are as petty and self-seeking as the ‘lesser men of greater power’ who decide to throw Andromache’s baby son from a high tower unto rocks in case he might grow up to rebuild Troy.

At first the production under review didn’t seem right.  How can you justify a musical version of Euripides’ classic tale of arbitrary, bickering gods and the hapless victims of war? Doesn’t it trivialise the story?  Well, no. It sounds unlikely but this retelling of the ancient story, by a bunch of travelling musicians, works very well. In fact it serves to intensify its impact.  The cast work well together. This reviewer was struck by the intensity of the actress who brings a dreamy quality to her role as Cassandra, who is cursed by the gods with the ability to see the future with the added twist that nobody will believe her.

**** Four Stars

David Kerr

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Film & DVD Review: Poseidon


Reviewed by Pat Harrington

  • MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril.
  • Runtime: 99 min Country: USA
  • Language: English
  • Color: Color
  • Sound Mix: DTS / SDDS / Sonics-DDP (IMAX version) / Dolby Digital
  • Certification: Canada:14A (British Columbia) / Malaysia:U / Portugal:M/12 / UK:12A / Canada:PG (Ontario) / Ireland:12A / Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba) / USA:PG-13 (certificate #42617) / Canada:13+ (Quebec) / Singapore:PG / Finland:K-11Poseidon has had a lot of criticism on the Internet. The Poseidon Adventure (1972), starring Gene Hackman has a minor ‘cult’ following and it was perhaps inevitable that it would be compared to and contrasted with this. Personally I was more influenced by Paul Gallico’s novel, published in 1969. I liked the ‘camp’ earlier film but Poseidon is a movie in its own right and that’s how we should judge it.

    Poseidon takes ‘disaster movies’ to a new technical level. It sets a new standard. Stanford University’s computer graphics department worked with a 100-member team of software developers to create a new technology – computational fluid dynamics. This simulates how water interacts with objects which creates a realism which is unmatched. Special effects supervisor, Kim Libreri, also looked at reflected light. He said:
    The computer needs to understand that when a light source strikes an object, some of that light bounces off and hits another object and so on.”
    The subtlety of detail is impressive. The underwater shots of the ship were extraordinary. The rendering of debris and parts of the ship breaking away seemed authentic. Visually the movie is great.

    Special mention for Stacy Ferguson (Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas). She appears as Gloria, the ship’s headline entertainer and performs the traditional Auld Lang Syne as well as two original compositions: the ballad Won’t Let You Fall and the Latin-tempo dance number Bailanos (Spanish for ‘Let’s Dance’).

    Poseidon also avoids many of the cliches of ‘disaster movies’. I used to try to guess who was going to be the next character to die and it was usually obvious. Not with this film. I asked Director Wolfgang Petersen if he had weighed-up whether killing off some of the central characters might shock and alienate sections of the audience. He answered that it “had to be done”. I was also struck not just by the selection of victims but the sheer number. Very few survive.

    Where I agree with some of the critics of this film concerns the script. I don’t have a problem as some do with how sudden the disaster strikes (Poseidon Adventure had quite a long build up). I liked the way the atmosphere on board suddenly switches from folk enjoying an extravagant New Year’s Eve Ball to fear and panic as a ‘rogue wave’ hits. A matter of personal taste I guess! But the critics are right that the script could have been a lot tighter and more psychologically intense. Don’t get me wrong, there are intense moments and certainly a sense of suspense. Poseidon plays with our fears of confinement, of fire, of drowning and of relinquishing control and having to rely on the decisions of others. Yet more could have been done.

    Wolfgang Petersen said:
    “disasters are great equalizers. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, if you’re the richest person in the world or if you’re working in the kitchen; you’re all in it together.”
    Yet the film doesn’t follow this logic. The Staff of the Cruiser are passive and deferential. Their survival instict seems to be switched off. I wondered how realistic this was. I would have liked to see at least one of them switch from a deferential job role to a more selfish, assertive character.

    The potential for tensions arising within the group were not really explored. Leadership roles switched with very little conflict. Recriminations and accusations were not to the fore. Even when one character causes the death of another little is said.

    Go see this movie because despite some of the reservations I’ve expressed it’s well worth the admission price. Forget the original and go with an open mind. It is spectacular, the acting (particularly from Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss and Jimmy Bennett is strong). Poseidon maintains your interest and involvement and does not follow the usual ‘disaster movie’ formula. Director Wolfgang Petersen is a man of great depth who makes bold decisions. It is a very good, entertaining film with spectacular effects which with a tighter script might have been a great one.

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    Interviews: JACINDA BARRETT (Maggie James) Q&A

    Jacinda Barrett plays Maggie James in the new adventure blockbuster Poseidon. She is one of the few hundred survivors of a luxury cruise ship hit by a rogue wave. She and a few others must forge a path together through layers of wreckage as the ship continues to sink.

    QUESTION: What was it like spending so many hours in the water?

    JACINDA BARRETT: It’s intense working in water. You deal with a whole bunch of stuff that you couldn’t foresee. All your senses are shut down under water, which is fine if you’re just frolicking in the pool. But if you’re doing a scene where you’re swimming to one point under a tunnel, and there’s only one access, one way you can get out. It, it can be a little scary because you’re totally blind. I had Mike Vogel swimming in front of me, who had steel-cap Fry boots on. So, I don’t know how close I’m getting to him. Is he gonna hit me underwater? The only thing you have to reassure you is that water safety people are looking out for you. So, if anything happens, they’ll pull you out. But it’s just the idea that you’ve got your safety in someone else’s hands. You have to let all your fears go and just dive in.

    QUESTION: You did most of the stunts yourself. How was it going down the hallway flat on your back?

    JACINDA BARRETT: That was really hard, learning to do those stunt jumps, because I had a space of about this wide to do it in and obviously, it’s upside down. There was a steel-covered light right there and corpses here and so you’re doing it in these confined spaces and that was a little hard.

    QUESTION: Your character has an intense moment with her son in the film. How is it to do emotional scenes underwater?

    JACINDA BARRETT: In that scene, I just connected to the fact that no matter what, I have to make him feel like he’s gonna be okay because if he panics, he’ll drown in there. That overrides everything else. Because your mother instinct kicks in and you’ve got to protect your child. Nothing else matters. You risk your life for your child. So, it must be horrible for any parent watching that scene to think about their son being trapped like that. Um, so that’s just how I approached that stuff. Forget everything else and just stick to the most important thing, which is to make him feel safe.

    QUESTION: How much do you surrender into the genre?

    JACINDA BARRETT: We would have discussions in the mornings and what was written would always become a totally different scene once you saw the set because it’s all related to the situation. What are the obstacles you’re dealing with in that situation to stay alive? We did a lot of discussions and Wolfgang was really open. That dialogue with my son is mostly made up. It’s what I was saying to him – “I’m here with you and you’ve got to be strong. And I’m not gonna leave you.” It was all stuff I was just making up with the actor, Jimmy, who played Conor. And the bit where he gets pulled under, that just happened. He went under in the scene. And they left it in because it worked; it was just an accident. Something happened where he lost his balance and Wolfgang was really open to seeing what the honesty of the situation would be once we were in it. But there are so many things that I’d never done in a movie like this that you’re dealing with. You’re shooting with always more than three cameras, which changes everything. If I move so much for camera A, I screw up camera B’s shot. You can’t overlap as much. You have to be mindful that you’re in close-up while you’re also in a wide shot, while still also over the shoulder. You couldn’t move because of the safety issues, of how far your harness would let you go or what CGI thing was actually going to be put in there. So, you are very much a small piece of the puzzle as the actor, unlike a character-driven drama where you get to decide, you’re gonna go here and go here and do. You very much have to work within all the other elements and actually, I enjoyed that, seeing my place in the picture differently and surrendering to the bigger picture of the movie. I learned a tremendous amount about filmmaking.

    QUESTION: How did you act while doing all that?

    JACINDA BARRETT: In every scene, it’s up to you to make it truthful. So, in that way, no matter what you’re doing, you’ve got to be honest. But you have to surrender to a lot of different situations. You’ve got to go with it. Kurt said to me early on, “You do as much as you can, and you’re always finding the truth and then there are certain situations where the stages are as they are. And the effects are as they are. And you have to learn how to get in there and accept it make that honest for you.” Right before that, I’d done this movie called The Last Kiss up in Montreal, which was all about the characters and I had five-page scenes where we could move wherever we wanted and it was all about our emotional intent in the scenes. And, so, I literally wrapped that one night and the next morning was on Poseidon. And It was so different. It was a such a bigger movie in every single way, from the five sound stages to the enormous crew that was involved, all the stunts, all the CGI people. So, it is an adjustment so is doing a comedy; so is doing a period drama. Every time you walk in, you have to surrender your preconceived ideas and go with whatever this director envisions. And if you don’t, you don’t get very far forcing your will.

    QUESTION: Are you losing your Australian accent?

    JACINDA BARRETT: I know. I know. It’s sad.

    QUESTION: You’re actually from Brisbane, right?

    JACINDA BARRETT: I am.

    QUESTION: Your dad’s a firefighter?

    JACINDA BARRETT: He is. Well, he was. He’s retired now.

    QUESTION: Did your background prepare you at all for the role?

    JACINDA BARRETT: Growing up in Australia, water is such a part of your life. You learn to swim almost before you can walk. You have the swimming lessons from such a young age; people don’t do that here.

    QUESTION: It’s more important than walking and, and reading.

    JACINDA BARRETT: Almost. Yeah. So, so for that, the water part, I was so comfortable already. And the fire stuff, well that’s all regulated and watched and stuff. As far as my accent goes, I’ve been living away for so long, ever since I was 17 and a half. One month out of high school, I left Australia.

    QUESTION: You went to Japan and England?

    JACINDA BARRETT: Yeah. All over Europe. And the thing is, I didn’t lose my accent until I started acting and had to play American in so many roles and then I married an American. I’m sure that has something to do with it. So, it started to go away a little bit. I’ve got to get it back. I’ve got to go back and live in Australia for a little bit, get it back.

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