Joe’s Blog

Archive for September, 2010

Titanic II (2010)

September 22, 2010 6:43 am

titanic 2 poster

This is quite possibly the most pointless review I will ever write. If you see the title Titanic II, you probably know within about 2 nanoseconds if you want to see it or not. Nothing I say is going to dissuade or persuade you the either way.

But, I feel compelled to share with you the sheer horror of how dreadful it is.

People often like to bore others on message boards discussing what the worst movie ever made is. The problem is that these people have rarely (if ever) seen genuinely BAD films. They may know dull films, stupid films, badly acted films… but that’s just 90% of big studio pictures.

If you want REALLY BAD films, you have to delve into the murkier depths of the Sky EPG, or those dusty forgotten shelves in Blockbuster. There lurk films like Solar Attack, Digital Man and Fearless Dragon (all currently showing on Movies4Men, channel 323). For the past decade or so, the runaway leader in the arena of the ‘mockbuster’ was Asylum films. Specialising in tricking the stupid into believing their movies are sequels to genuine blockbusters, they carved a highly lucrative niche producing the likes of Snakes on a Train and Transmorphers and so on (The Day the Earth Stopped is perhaps the finest example of their titling, even if the movie itself is awful).

Asylum found themselves briefly known to the public at large with the release last year of Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, with its wonderful trailer and headline-grabbing casting of Debbie Gibson. It was pretty poor but you got the impression watching it that that wasn’t really the point. The point was, they could make a profitable film from that title. It’s the way Roger Corman used to work. He’d give young directors a title, a poster and a budget and tell them to go make a movie.

According to an article in the Guardian a few months ago, all Asylum pictures work to a Dogme style list of rules including a $1million budget and four week maximum shooting schedule. they use experienced TV directors, who are used to working to such constraints, and won’t go getting ideas about art. With that in mind, you have to admire the fact they can turn out four or five films a year and probably never lose a dime. Unfortunately, they have NEVER made a good movie, and Titanic II is quite possibly the worst film they have ever (and will ever) make.

Plot? Rich kid inherits daddy’s shipping line. Decides to build a replica of the Titanic, and re-create its famous voyage 100 years to that fateful day (so technically, this film is set in the future). They manage to rope in a Day After Tomorrow sub-plot about melting ice caps which leads to the inevitable deep sea clash later on. Dennis Quaid will here be played by Bruce Davison, who, last time I looked, was a proper actor. He was in the X Men films and everything.

The rest of the cast is filled with people who sort of look like a cross between two other people (but who have mainly just appeared in Asylum films).¬† The rich kid is Gary Busey/James Franco, the female lead is Jessica Alba/Rosario Dawson, while Bruce Davison’s colleague is Eva Longoria crossed with the Joker. The ship’s captain looks like Dante from Clerks, there’s the Ron Livingstone-alike helicopter pilot, and so on. Since none of them can act, presumably they were all cast because bored people with a low attention span in the video store on a saturday night will look at the box and go “oh, it’s her… from… that thing… that we watched”, “yeah, that’ll do”…

(Incidentally, Shane van Dyke (rich kid) also wrote and directed, so you can shout at him for being crap for three different reasons! Jackpot!)

So, Bruce Davison is a coastguard who’s jurisdiction seems to stretch from New York to the Arctic, and he’s around to witness first-hand the first of the appalling SFX this film will deliver, when a giant polar ice cap breaks in two. Well, we’re ‘told’ it’s giant. The problem is we never see it in relation to anything else, so it tends to look like a lump of hard icing sugar. The ice fragment is so ‘giant’, we are told, that it will cause (dun dun dun) a Mega Tsunami! I have to admit, I thought this utter bollocks, but it turns out to be completely true. Whereas normal tsunamis are caused by tectonic movements, megatsunamis (no space) are caused by impacts or landslides. That’s probably the only real science this film contains.

Back in New York, Titanic II (or the Queen Mary, as that’s the boat they used for exteriors, and they did NOTHING to hide that fact except compositing the words TITANIC II onto the hull) is ready to roll. Yes, the voyage recreation is true down to the last detail, except where the boat actually travelled from.¬† You’d think an occassion like this would draw a massive crowd. But it appears, it’s just drawn a crowd of about 15 people. The same 15 people obviously want to see every inch of the ship, as they can be seen waving at it at the front, back and in the middle. Some even manage to get onto the ship to wave at themselves back on the dock. Incidentally, these do not look like the type of people who would be able to afford such a trip. They look like they’ve dressed themselves for an afternoon shopping.

We’re introduced to two blondes. One is a bit dim, and reads a book called “The Original Titanic”. I swear to God.

original titanic

The other one is, of course, Bruce Davison’s daughter, and, of course, ex-girlfriend of rich kid. (At this point it’s worth noting that I can’t even be bothered to look up the character’s names, since to assign these people the term ‘characters’ is an insult to the English language. Within about 3 seconds you’ve worked out how the rest of the film is going to play out, so I won’t bother going into it.

The film is absolute joy for blooper spotters. from the aforementioned people waving to themselves in the dock (with well chosen camera angles to disguise how few people they are actually are) to the joyous moment when someone is walking along a corrider, on a boat, in the middle of the Atlantic, and you can see the New York skyline through the window! Yes folks, the interior of the ship is, in fact, a hotel (as also demonstrated by the fire exit procedure sign next to the lifts). I’m also pretty sure that one character dies twice: once driving a lifeboat, and once, back on the ship, in an explosion.

There’s also the marvellous sight of ‘shaky-cam’ effects when the iceberg hits, but the expensive crockery on the dining room tables (all three of them) stays firmly still. I’ve not seen that kind of thing since the legendary earthquake episode of Santa Barbara. Added to that, some of the extras seem to have trouble swaying in time with everyone else, including one chap who sways the wrong way.

Perhaps my favourite scene, is when Blonde A (Davidson’s daughter) finds her friend injured in the medical room (it’s at this point you discover they are nurses, not the ship equivelent of trolley-dollies). Despite the fact the room is a bit of a mess, there are still clearly lots of lots of medical supplies she could be using to treat her friend’s wounds. When dopey boyfriend says he can’t find what she’s asked for (it’s there, donut, in the medical cupboard you’ve just ignored), she proceeds to use a credit card and (I think) sellotape. What good this would do, I’m not entirely sure, but it seems to do the trick.

I also liked the boat stopping on a sixpence while doing about 100 knots. They pull a handle, it stops.

Moments like this keep you watching, simply because of their jaw dropping awfulness. But that’s all there is. Your mind starts to wander to other things, like “do our heroes hide in a metal cupboard so they didn’t have to spend the money to actually flood the room they are in?”. The last twenty minutes or so, are brain numbingly dull, as they try to reach the ‘Diving Centre’ filled with scuba gear on the boat (I’m pretty sure that’s not one of the authentic details replicated from the original).

Kicking an Asylum movie is really a waste of time, but this is truly dreadful. A mix of Titanic, the Poseidon Adventure and Day After Tomorrow does sound like it could be entertaining, but not when your budget wouldn’t cover half an episode of Eastenders.

But, as I said, you’re either gonna see it or not. Nothing I say is gonna make any difference. Just bear in mind, it’s dreadful!. It’s NOT so-bad-it’s-good. It’s BAD!

Trailer  - seriously this is all you need to see