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I'll cut this for spoilers. (THE SHIP SANK!). Oops. Nevermind about that cut, huh? The short review: this movie STANK. If you want a few more of the sad details . . .


This was bad bad bad. The worst “Titanic” film I’ve seen, and that’s saying something, since “SOS Titanic” also really sucked. But this one was worse. It had potential. Well, of course it did. This is a great backdrop for a drama, and there’s no need to go beyond historical events and real people. Except that whomever wrote this script did a horrible job with characterizations. They took all the worst rumors about people and ran with them, turning the historical figures into caricatures, rather than characters: Captain Smith running around shouting at people; Ismay below deck giving orders to the crew (???), then sneaking furtively onto the lifeboat with a crowd of people struggling to get on behind him. At the start, I was pleased to see them bring in one of the more interesting stories that I’d not seen included in a film before: Alice Cleaver and the Allison family. Unfortunately, they managed to turn this story into a farce as well. Alice was overly pathetic (why was she screaming in the lifeboat? I wanted to scream from the stupdity of it), but even worse, they turned the Allisons into complete idiots. Halfway through, I found myself feeling GLAD that the bitchy and hysterical Mrs. Allison and bratty little Lorraine were going to die when the ship sank. Not really the way to frame a tragedy. Oh, and what the heck was Tim Curry thinking when he agreed to play the psycho-rapist steward? There are so many other things I could mention, but if I were to put down everything I dislked, it would take me longer than it took to watch this stupid film. Bad bad bad. Even if you are a big “Titanic” fan, skip this one. It sucked. 2/10



(Real entry soon. Maybe even tomorrow. With pictures)!

ETA: some clarification about this film. This film was a "miniseries" starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Peter Galagher. This is not a review of the 1997 James Cameron film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. I like the James Cameron film. :)

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
macloudt
Dec. 30th, 2006 10:15 am (UTC)
Heh, I'm glad to finally hear someone say that this movie is bad. I have always refused to see it out of sheer principle; it's cashing in on a tragedy (educational documentaries are fine IMO. Hollywood movies which, once again, completely twist the truth to invent a "better" story? Nononono!). And Celine Dion should be muffled. ;)
darkthirty
Dec. 30th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
I've always said this movie was atrocious - an insult, not a narrative. It's on my worst movies of all time list. But isn't Wendy being generous, giving it 2?
here_be_dragons
Dec. 31st, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
Uh oh. I think we're talking about different movies. The one I'm reviewing here is a "miniseries" starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, not the James Cameron film (the one which featured the atrocious musical stylings of Celine Dion. I do agree about the muffle). :D

I actually like the Cameron film, mostly because they did SUCH a fantastic job with the visuals of the ship. I could have done without the Rose/Jack romance, but I didn't find it offensive. Just a bit long, at times. Still, I think the 1997 film was very well done. Which is fortunate, as it's one of Connor's favorites, so we watch it regularly. :D They did a pretty good job, IMO, with the characterizations of the historical people, unlike the monstrosity I reviewed in this entry. Also, I suppose I can't really comment on the "cashing in on a tragedy" aspect, since I'm all for using an event like this as a foundation for fiction - I did it myself, with my most recent NaNoWriMo novel. (It's fiction, although it is based on an actual myth. And if someone in Hollywood someday wants to take it and make it into a movie, I can tell you I'll be thrilled. :D :D :D).

In general, though, I do agree with what you're saying here. It's ridiculous to take and twist history. Especially in this case, where there is so much genuine drama and pathos and heroism, etc., with the real stories of people on that ship. I just can't understand why anyone would feel the need to mess around with that. If you are interested in the "Titanic" disaster, I really would recommend that you see the James Cameron film, though. I think he was respectful and tasteful in the way he treated the historical aspects and people. Plus, it's a gorgeous, gorgeous film, visually. Of course, there's also "A Night to Remember," which is wonderful (1958, IIRC), based entirely on survivor testimony, so there are no fictional characters (although there are some "composites"). If you don't want a big frou-frouey fictional romance, then stick with "A Night to Remember." But if you like pretty graphics, do check out the Cameron film.

But whatever you do, stay far, far away from this Catherine Zeta-Jones stinker. :)
macloudt
Jan. 1st, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
Yep, I got the wrong film! :) However...

...there *were* some blatant inaccuracies in the Cameron film. I'm too lazy go Google and get the name of the place but Cameron and the gang had to apologise to an entire English village for the misrepresentation of some of their citizens who perished; if memory serves me correctly these people who portrayed as cowardly staff whereas they were in fact responsible for saving the lives of a good number of passengers.

Either way, I still wouldn't see the Cameron film because it is, as I mentioned earlier, cashing in on a tragedy, no matter how well it may have been made. This attitude of mine stems back to something my mother said years ago. I was about 10 and we were driving from our cottage to church when we spotted a house on the other side of the road on fire. On the way back from church we noticed several cars pulled up to the side of the road by the burning wreck and my father mentioned stopping to look as well. My mother's response was "No, we'll keep going. We will not gain pleasure/entertainment* from other people's pain" *(the Dutch word she used doesn't translate properly into English, but you get the general idea).

I've kept what she said in my heart, and always will.
here_be_dragons
Jan. 1st, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
You're right - there were blatant inaccuracies in the Cameron film. I never said there weren't - I just thought (and still do), that on the whole, his treatment of the disaster was respectful. As to the particular incident you had in mind, I suspect it was regarding First Officer Murdoch. In the film, he shoots a passenger, and then shoots himself, and I know that many people in his hometown in Scotland were very upset by this portrayal, and requested an apology. But you see, the thing about this incident is that it isn't something Cameron invented. There were survivor testimonies that this, or something like it, actually happened - that a member of the crew shot a passenger, and also that a member of the crew took his own life. There were people who said that person was Murdoch; others who said it was Captain Smith who shot himself. Still others said things which would seem to contradict that either of these men could have killed himself or anyone else. So, it's one of the many mysteries about what really did happen that night. Cameron chose this one particular interpretation, which might or might not be historically accurate, and people in Murdoch's hometown were (understandably) upset. That's not the same as just making things up, though. Besides, I've never yet seen a film about this disaster which didn't contain some inaccuracies. Even the documentaries often present as fact certain things which are really just speculation. That's one of the things about this subject that I find very interesting - trying to figure out what really happened, and why, and knowing that there are things we'll simply never be able to know for certain. (It's also possible that you're referring to another incident entirely - that wouldn't surprise me, either - but my point still stands. There is so much controversy about events, that Cameron had to make some choices about how to portray things. IMO, after doing a lot of my own research on this subject, I feel most of his choices were good ones).

Your mother's comment is lovely, and I agree that it is a good way to live. However, for me, it doesn't apply in this situation. When I see what watching this film (and others) has done for my son, I see great value in it. It has helped him understand an historical era in a way he couldn't have done otherwise. And yes, there are documentaries which offer this information (and we've watched as many of those as we can find, as well). But fictionalized dramas have their place, too, if nothing else as a way of sparking someone's interest to explore the real history behind the fiction. Not to mention a chance to "see" the ship herself in a way that couldn't be possible in any other form. Are we getting "pleasure from someone else's pain" in some way that is disrespectful or wrong? No. Watching these films is interesting, and yes, pleasureable in a way. But I've never watched Cameron's film without crying for the loss and suffering of those people, and I think the film has that effect on a great many people. What it does is give us a certain kind of glimpse into this tragic event, and that's valuable. If you disagree with this, then by all means, don't see the film. But I don't agree that others are doing something wrong by watching it, or by enjoying it, even. It was a beautiful film in many ways, and I'm glad that Cameron decided to make it.

*hugs*
happy_potterer
Dec. 31st, 2006 02:37 am (UTC)
I didn't like the James Cameron one either, or at least, the part with the ship sinking (I came into a video store when disaster was nigh and stayed to the end craning my neck to watch the whole thing! Which just proves a film can be compelling even as you are saying, "This sucks!"). This, plus your post, inspires this little rhyme:

The ship sank;
The movie stank.
Who frets o'er the fate
Of Leo and Kate?
Still, Cameron, James
Got Oscar acclaim
Through a lobbying tack
That Abrams, Jack
Would feel quite ill
To try on the Hill.
Ads in Variety--
Past notoriety--
All did the trick:
Best '98 flick!

(And I'm sure it didn't hurt ol' Jim's mission
That Good [sic] Will Hunting was the main competition.)
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