Director: Shane Van Dyke
Screenplay: Shane Van Dyke
Producers: David Michael Latt
Starring: Shane Van Dyke, Marie Westbrook, Bruce Davison, Brooke Burns, Michelle Glavan
BBFC Certification: 12
Duration: 82 min
Yes, you read that title correctly. A hideously unnecessary 'sequel' that is in no way affiliated with any of the original Titanic movies, Titanic 2 comes courtesy of the infamous production company Asylum, 13 years too late to actually cash-in on the success of James Cameron's money-printer.
'Why even bother reviewing this?' I hear you ask, 'it's clearly going to be horrifically bad'. Well, I got sent a copy to review so I'm obliged to and I don't know, I just fancied something fun to write, but to be honest I don't want to just spend 3 paragraphs laying into this movie. I could, quite easily, but you could probably produce that list of flaws without even watching it and you know what? I'll whisper this in case any respectable critics are listening - Titanic 2 wasn't all bad.
100 years after the original ship's fateful maiden voyage, a young engineer/entrepreneur Hayden Walsh (played by the films writer/director Shane Van Dyke) launches a luxury cruise liner behemoth of his own, christened 'Titanic 2'. This time round all eventualities have been thought of - enough lifeboats to go round, iceberg detectors etc. but what Hayden hadn't banked on was a 'mega-tsunami' caused by global warming melting a giant wall of ice. Luckily James Maine (Bruce Davison - X-Men, Short Cuts etc.) is aware of the oncoming killer wave and does his best to warn and help the liner which is directly in it's path.
What could possibly be good about this trash? Well, it's breathlessly fast paced, which is a must for films of this kind. Although it takes itself very seriously (usually a crime in low budget crap), it realises that people don't want to sit through scenes of 'moving' drama featuring ropey dialogue and bland actors. There's plenty of this on display, but it never lingers on it. The film is pretty much constantly going for big and dramatic with the (stock-sounding) music blaring out at a constant peak. Someone always seems to be in danger and the lack of respite stops the audience from having too much time to think about what they're watching and realising that it's crap. These scenes of 'drama' or 'danger' aren't well handled enough to be truly exciting, but they're big and frequent enough to keep you from reaching for the eject button.
OK so I'm hardly selling the film and I won't lie, it is bad, but when you stick on a DVD called Titanic 2 that's produced by Asylum you don't watch or critique it in the same way you would Black Swan. Some flaws like shoddy CGI, über-blunt exposition or moments where there's a dramatic pause followed by lines like 'it looks like history's repeating itself' are part of the fun here.
I still can't bring myself to give this a good rating though. It's an incredibly dumb film and it does take itself too seriously. Also the film's finale is a big let down; Bruce Davison who spends the whole film acting against a green screen (clearly only hired for one day) looks to have his moment to shine and save the day in the final minutes, but he's just replaced by a stuntman/CGI to show him swim down into the now underwater ship, finds the trapped leads instantly, then reappears moments later above the surface. They attempt to revive one of the characters who has drowned and frozen (SPOILER – like you give a shit), but fail and the credits roll. It's a real letdown after such an OTT setup, but with expectations so low originally it didn't bother me much.
My recommendation (or lack of) will entirely depend on your movie-watching habits. If you're attuned to watching straight to video trash then this is actually not too bad and is a fun beer and buddies night in, but if you're a cinephile with a purely indie/art-house intake then steer well clear of it. If you're in this category I doubt you'll even look at the box though, let alone read a review of the film so I don't know why I'm bothering.
The DVD is out on 7th February in the UK, released by Metrodome. Features include a short but actually pretty good making of documentary. I wish it was longer, because it's a lot of fun and has some nice little glimpses into how the film came together on such a low budget (most of the film was shot in and around the Queen Mary Hotel, which is a grounded old cruise liner that has been converted into a hotel). The cast and crew seem to be having a blast too which is always nice to see, but at 8 minutes there's not enough meat here to call it a 'must see' extra.
Review by David Brook