9 September 2002 | Poseidon-3
Hudson and cast choke on plastic snow and a bad script.
Checking in rather late, though not at the tail end, in the 1970's disaster movie cycle, this Roger Corman cheapie is only entertaining in fits and starts. Hudson (looking ragged and drunk at times) has just built a huge winter paradise in the mountains of Colorado. His ex-wife (Farrow) comes to the opening, for old times sake, while employee Forster foresees danger in the snow caps. Hudson's mother (Nolan, in a white fright wig) wines and dines with abandon. There are also trite and annoying plot threads about a studly skier, a TV show host (Primus) and his unfaithful wife and a nervous ice skater. Aside from having less than stunning production values, the film's main problem is that it takes an hour for the title event to occur and then races through all the resultant carnage with choppy editing and distorted timing. The viewer must endure a shabby, clichéd script and some bad acting while waiting for the Styrofoam chunks and plastic snow to may their way down the hill. Hudson is bad. He barks and yells inappropriately when he isn't wooden. Farrow looks idiotic much of the time and is completely mismatched with Hudson. (She learned nothing from this experience as she was soon to film the disastrous "Hurricane", another career killer. Thankfully, for her, Woody Allen was just around the corner!) Forster actually outshines the others with his charm and conviction in a thankless part. Nolan shamelessly hams up her role in a desperate attempt to add life to the often dull proceedings. She is funny, but not always in the way intended. Primus had worked for Corman before, so he should have known what he was in for. On the plus side, there are a few hooty lines of dialogue and some unintentionally hilarious, overwrought, emotional scenes among the lesser players. Also, a few of the ice and snow effects and destruction scenes are solid (most, however, are shoddy.) One hilarious scene has a skater spinning obliviously while snow encompasses her. In another, folks digging a hole out of an enclosed lodge keep knocking against the rubber "snow" so that it springs back! Then there's the rescue workers who, after witnessing an electrocution, allow the victim to fall onto the ground instead of into their net, which is right under him! There's also an ambulance door that apparently flies open simply by leaning against it. One distinction: This has to be the only 1970's disaster film that has nudity. Hudson (in a bid to reinforce his heterosexual image?) has a secretary that walks around his chalet naked! If the film had spent a half hour getting to know the people and an hour rescuing them (instead of the opposite), it might have been more entertaining. The way it stands, viewers wind up not really liking the characters and can barely keep up with the rescues!