The sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic is one of the most talked about tragedies in the history of transportation. The ship, said to be unsinkable, went down on its maiden voyage in 1912. Over a century after that doomed cruise, that tragic event remains at the forefront of so many people’s minds. That is thanks in large part to the countless documentaries and movies that have been churned out by movie studios and television networks over the past half century, the least of which being 1997’s story of a doomed romance, Titanic. Thankfully there have been more enjoyable stories such as the famous The Band Played On and the 1980 drama that was Raise The Titanic. Now twenty-four years after that movie debuted, it has been resurrected for the masses by itv Studios and Shout! Factory. The movie, based on author Clive Cussler’s novel by the same name, uses the Cold War as a backdrop for its plot. It’s just part of the writing that makes this movie worth watching at least once. The movie’s script is just part of what makes Raise The Titanic worth at least one watch. The movie’s soundtrack is another important aspect of the overall presentation. John Williams’ score captures and creates so much emotion throughout the story. And the special effects used throughout the movie are minimalist at best. It actually makes the movie that much better. It’s discussed in the bonus “Making of” featurette that’s included in this re-issue. Each of the noted factors plays a role in the success of Raise The Titanic especially now in its new life. Together, they make this a movie that any classic movie buff will want to check out at least once.
The first aspect of Raise The Titanic that audiences will agree to be a positive is the movie’s script. Theories about what led to the Titanic’s sinking and how to potentially raise the ship have run rampant for ages. However author Clive Cussler’s book based on those theories was the first of its kind to gain major success. The same can be said of the final product crafted by screenwriter Adam Kennedy and his writing partner Eric Hughes. To that extent, it can be argued that both the book and the script that it spawned were both quite original in their own right. In hindsight, it’s interesting to see how prophetic this story turned out to be, even if it did change some things from Cussler’s original book. Not that many years ago, the Costa Concordia wrecked off the Italian coast. It sat there until recently when means were undertaken to lift the half-sunken ship and get it away from its crash site. In the same way that many of the theories on how to raise the Titanic were deemed impossible (among other words), the method ultimately used to raise the Costa Concordia seemed impossible until one of those theories worked. Having seen the Costa Concordia raised from its wreck site, one can’t help but wonder if it could be the foundation of a way to raise other ships as impossible as it might seem.
Raise The Titanic’s script is an important piece of the whole that is the movie’s success. Just as important to the movie’s overal enjoyment is its music. Legendary composer and maestro John Williams created a score for the movie that captures and creates so much emotion. Nowhere is this truer than the scene in which the Titanic finally breaks the surface of the North Atlantic waters. The moments as it makes its way into New York’s harbor are just as emotional, musically speaking. Williams more than exhibits his ability to interpret any scene with these moments alone. They are but a pair of moments that show how important the movie’s score is to the whole presentation. There are far more moments throughout the movie’s near two-hour run time that exhibit just as much of Williams’ talent and that of the musicians that bring the movie’s soundtrack to life. Audiences will find their own favorite moments when they buy or order the movie’s new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack re-issue from Shout! Factory.
The script and the soundtrack of Raise The Titanic both play pivotal roles in the movie’s success. There is one more aspect of this movie that could be argued to trump those previously noted aspects. That aspect is the movie’s special effects. Watching this movie, one can’t help but make a quick comparison to the likes of The Hunt for Red October, Crimson Tide, and to a lesser degree, The Abyss. The latter of that trio is perhaps the closest comparison. The difference is that where James Cameron went completely overboard with his special effects, Raise The Titanic used minimalist special effects for even its biggest scene. A couple prime examples of this less-is-more approach are the subs used to find the Titanic and the ship itself. It turns out that the subs used in the movie were actually r/c subs. The mock-up of the Titanic, it turns out, was actually a fifty-five foot “model” that weighed roughly ten tons. And the methods used to raise the ship were just as interesting. That minimalist approach to its special effects actually made the movie even more enjoyable because it forced its writers to focus on story development. The end result was a movie that is just as rich in its special effects as it is in its story. It makes Raise The Titanic a movie worth at least one watch by anyone that has never seen it before.
The special effects used throughout Raise The Titanic played a big role in the movie’s success thanks to the less-is-more approach taken by those behind the special effects. There is much more worth noting, including the in-depth commentary on the movie shared in its bonus “Making of” featurette. The commentary includes a rather damning statement regarding the over use of special effects in today’s major motion pictures. The statement in question is made by one of the individuals that helped bring the movie’s special effects to life. Fans can check out this statement and more when they purchase or order the movie now from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/node/218884. More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.