Thursday, 14 October 2010

All Just A Little Bit Of History Repeating [Review: Titanic II]

“Let’s make history.” Captain Howard (D.C. Douglas)

“The watertight bulkheads were designed for a head on collision. We never anticipated being hit from the side.” Hayden Walsh (Shane Van Dyke)

“Women and children first?” Hayden Walsh
“Looks like history’s repeating itself.” Captain Howard

“That’s half the lifeboats!” Hayden Walsh

The bridge crew take their places. Champagne is served. The Titanic departs on it’s historic maiden voyage, the four steamless funnels shining brightly. Passengers wave at the Statue of Liberty as it glides past. Hang on. Statue of Liberty? The date is April 13th 2012, and this is the Titanic II, a replica ship departing on a memorial cruise that will retrace the original ship’s voyage. In reverse.

For the record,
Titanic II may not be The Asylum’s finest hour. There are no sharks… at least no literal ones. Celebrity engineer Hayden Walsh (Shane Van Dyke) is the designer and owner of the Titanic II, which outwardly resembles the first Titanic but is in fact the most advanced ship ever built. He arrives on deck via helicopter with his four girlfriends in tow. Remind me - who wrote and directed this film? Oh yes.

Production values are varied. The Titanic II itself is pretty good – the Queen Mary doubles for it in dock, with a detailed CGI model taking over at sea. The whole replica ship concept has been given a lot of time and effort – non-functional funnels, hanging lifeboats which apparently don’t even float (instead there are some hi-tech submarine lifeboats below deck) and a reconstruction of the original bridge controls above the real, high-tech bridge.

Marie Westbrook and the Queen Mary as Amy Maine and Titanic II respectively

On the other hand, production values hit a spectacular low in a couple of scenes: Kim Patterson (Brooke Burns) exploring the collapsing polar ice shelf via some dodgy bluescreen, or Hayden and Amy (Marie Westbrook) climbing "up" a lift shaft Batman-and-Robin style.

This film is short – about half the length of Titanic I, and as with many Asylum films it’s quite enjoyable even though flawed. It’s not a spoof or comedy but nor does it take itself too seriously - it's a melodrama and the acting is suitably over the top. Shane Van Dyke does capture his role (half Leonardo Di Caprio, half Richard Branson) but the best performances come from D.C. Douglas, Marie Westbrook and Bruce Davison all of whom are very watchable and entertaining for all the right reasons.

Bruce Davison as Captain Maine

That Bruce Davison is an unsung hero. He deserves a knighthood for his services to science fiction through mastery of the Supporting Role. You might remember Mr. Davison as Senator Kelly in the X-Men films, or perhaps as George Henderson. If you were really lucky then you might have seen him play George Orr in the well-received 1980 TV movie Lathe Of Heaven. But check out his IMDb page where you can see he has taken occasional parts in Lost, Voyager, Enterprise, Sarah Connor Chronicles, V, Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, and The Outer Limits - no doubt adding that extra bit of credibility and richness to each episode.

1 comment:

Tired of Previews said...

Nice review there! Thanks for sharing your link!