Sunday, April 8, 2012

Titanic Films 101

                 This year is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic disaster, which forever changed maritime law. It also served as a metaphor of our overconfidence in technology, which we sadly still do to this very day. (Note: Our trust in phones and computers.)  In honor of that great ship and in memory of the 1500 lives whom died on that fateful night, Hollywood has been making a lot of movies about this historic event, but not all of them are masterpieces like Titanic (1997) and A Night To Remember (1958). Let's take a look at the best and worst Titanic films of all time.

           The Film That I Wished Was Still Around With UsSaved From The Atlantic (1912)
        A few weeks after the Titanic sank, one of the actual survivors, Dorothy Gibson, starred in a fictionalized film about the Titanic. I would have loved to see this film because it would have reflected society's look on the Titanic, and plus it has an actual survivor in it! Sadly, its studio, Eclair, had a huge fire that engulfed the only known prints, and this was Dorothy Gibson's last film. What a shame.
Major Failure: An Octopus In A Titanic Movie
Another Major Failure: A Rapping Dog In A Titanic Movie

       The Film I Wished Was Not Still Around With Us: The Legend Of Titanic (1999)
      This was the first animated Titanic movie ever, and sadly, that's one of two reasons why we still remember it. The other reason is that it's historically inaccurate, bland animation, a strained political message,stolen cliches, stupidity, and it has an octopus saving the Titanic. I'm not kidding. If you are still interested in why it's so bad, just go see The Nostalgia Critic's video review of it, which sums up all of my hatred of it.
         The Best Documentary on Titanic:  Secrets Of Titanic (1987) and Titanica (1995)
        Even though there are a ton of Titanic documentaries, none of those can even top these two. I like how they showed actual pieces of the ship, and the narration of the latter helps the viewer on a guide of the ship. In fact, both of these also show the human side of the actual expeditions themselves. What a wonderful way to see history in the making.
          The Best T.V. Show About Titanic:  Titanic: The Complete Story (1994)
        This is what got me into my love for Titanic. The survivor's accounts and the glorious images all helped me fuel my knowledge of the vent. And what also helped was that the last special was on the movies and pop culture phenomenon that Titanic has produced. It allowed me to know that those movies existed and that I should go see them. Thank you, History Channel. Now stop messing up your programming with Decoded and America:The Story Of Us and put something fun and nonjudgmental in there.
        The Worst T.V. Show About Titanic: Titanic (1996)
        Why Hollywood! You have ruined great actors like George C.Scott (Patton), Eva Marie Saint (North by Northwest), Tim Curry (Clue), and Pete Gallagher (Short Cuts) when you starred them in a 1996 mini-series that was rushed into production before James Cameron could release his film. The result is a lackluster production with "embarrassingly bad acting" and "out of place scenes". Okay, those words came out of a review from the Seattle-Post Intelligencer   . But they do describe this terrible movie, and there are so many historical inaccuracies that any Titanic fan wouldn't be caught dead watching it!
        The Worst Titanic Movie Ever:  Titanic: The Legend Goes On (2000)
       This is the worst animated film of all time! It's been ranked #1 on the IMDB's Bottom 100, and the Nostalgia Critic did a whole rampage of it on his channel. Here's my review of it in four sentences: This movie is so stupid, ugly, and shameful that I want it destroyed! It had terrible animation that could make Walt Disney puke, borrowed every major Disney storyline/character that could make him puke again, basic stupidity, silly dialogue, shame to Titanic freaks with its historical flaws, and this list could go on and on forever! But the worst part about it is that it has a rapping dog in it! Oh my goodness!
      Honorable Mentions:  Atlantic (1929), History Is Made at Night (1939), and Titanic (1953) are all heavily fictionalized Hollywood versions of the Titanic saga with the latter one winning an Oscar for its soapy script. (Though Barbara Stanwyck was good in it.) Titanic (1943) is notable because it was a German propaganda film that portrayed the British as total jerks, while the Germans as angels. (How ironic.) Tragically, there have been controversy over this as its director got mysteriously killed, and this film was banned in Germany until several decades later. Raise The Titanic (1980) was based on Clive Cussler's book of the same name. Why is it so notable? Well, it bombed really badly. So badly that its producers, Lew Grade, "sank into disaster", and Clive Cussler demanded that no other book of his would be made into another film. The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) is a musical chronicling Molly Brown's life, including her brief appearance on Titanic. Time Bandits (1981) and Ghostbuster II (1989) all had brief glimpses of the ship. Too brief for my tastes.  In Naucht und Eis (In Night And Ice) was a silent Titanic drama that was released a few weeks after the actual tragedy. It was thought to be lost until a collector discovered it in 1998.
       The Best Titanic Movies Of All Time: Titanic (1997) and A Night To Remember (1958)
    Okay. I know that I'm cheating by picking two films for the number one spot, but I couldn't do it with those two immortal classics. Both of them showed us characters whom we cared about deeply, artistic ability, wonderful journeys, historically accuracy, and the ship sinking scenes are just awesome. Superb acting and directing also happened in these movies, and you must see these two on DVD, (or theater) right now.
   I think the real reason why we cherish Titanic so much is that we can identify with the lost souls and their ocean liner of dreams that symbolized life with a happy ending. After all, life should have a happy ending for dreams can only prosper in happy endings. Though it sank into tragedy, its dreams will go in our minds as a twisted tragic "happy ending." This post is made in honor of that great ship ,all of her passengers and all of their dreams that will be always remembered.

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