Mat: Before you get too excited, “Titanic II” is not a poorly-conceived sequel where a spectral Billy Zane rises from the dead and haunts vacationers onboard Carnival cruise ships. If only.
Brian: “If only” is right. Dear God, think of the havoc he could wreak: engine fires, drastic power losses, drifting for weeks at sea while hapless doughy retirees crap in buckets and bake on deck … thank heavens THAT could never happen.
Mat: I see what you did there. No, “Titanic II” is instead merely a rinky-dink disaster movie where some millionaire playboy (played by triple-threat Shane Van Dyke who wrote, directed, and stars in “Titanic II”) constructs an ocean liner regrettably named Titanic II.
Brian: Shane Van Dyke is quite the man about town on the direct-to-video scene. Not only did he direct this hunk of magic, but he also directed and wrote, respectively, the In No Way Infringing On Anyone’s Copyright gems “Paranormal Entity” and “Transmorphers: The Fall of Man.” He’s been in this neighborhood for a while, and when you hunker down for 90 minutes of “Titanic II,” you start to maybe get a few ideas about why that might be.
Mat: The plot has something to do with global warming (a movie with a message!) causing large chunks of the ice shelf to break off and fall into the ocean, thus causing a giant tsunami (not scientifically possible!) that hurls icebergs at our doomed ship.
Brian: Hurls them! The ship doesn’t just run into an iceberg! So audacious is their hubris that it demands no less retribution from Mother Nature than a gargantuan Nolan Ryan-esque iceberg fastball!
Mat: It’s as bad as you suspect.
I could spend my time railing against the cast (which features character actor and Academy Award nominee (!) Bruce Davison as a Coast Guard Captain, Marie Westbrook as his daughter who serves as a nurse/stewardess aboard Titanic II, and “Baywatch” refugee Brook Burns as the hottest arctic scientist ever) or the script (which, among other atrocities, shamelessly rips-off the Ed Harris/Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio drowning scene from “The Abyss” almost word for word) but it is the production values that really make “Titanic II” stand out.
Brian: I feel it necessary to separate Bruce Davison from the rest of the cast here, as he honestly turns in a praiseworthy performance considering what he has to work with. As for the rest of them, an interesting note: Mat and I determined, during the course of “Titanic II,” that the acting pool for most direct-to-video films is more or less identical to that of soft-core porn on Cinemax. If you don’t believe us, watch “Titanic II,” which is a total cop-out because you should not watch “Titanic II.”
Mat: Anyway. When low-rent computer graphics are the highlight of your movie you know you’ve got real trouble. The exterior shots make use of the retired liner the Queen Mary, which has been dry-docked in Long Beach since the 60s. You can only imagine the camera angles required to make that bad boy look like it’s in the middle of the North Atlantic.
Brian: Indeed I can only imagine the angles required for that, as I certainly did not see any such angles in “Titanic II.” It’s almost treated as a given that the Titanic II is docked in the Pacific, specifically in Long Beach, until the Super Nintendo rendering of the ship sets sail and suddenly we’re told there are icebergs in play.
Mat: The moments where Van Dyke really makes Ed Wood proud are when the ship is being jostled. The camera is cocked at an odd angle while unfortunate – and surely underpaid – extras throw themselves about on either the decks of the Queen Mary or inside a ballroom at the Long Beach Westin.
Never before has minimum wage looked this painful and humiliating.
Brian: I really felt for them, though part of what I felt was bad, for laughing at how incredibly affordable their attire and general upkeep made passage on the Titanic II seem. And the ones who went on to portray corpses — did they get paid extra for having their clothing lightly sprinkled with fake blood? Were they told in advance to wear clothes they didn’t mind ruining? For God’s sake, were they paid extra?
Mat: For the habitually curious who want to know what it is like to watch “Titanic II” without actually enduring a full 90 minutes of brutalization I direct you to the following series of notes taken by the intrepid Brian Byrne during a screening of the film. It is all the understanding you will ever need.
Is this a multiple Van Dyke production? Shane Van Dyke! Writer/Director/Producer/star!
I hope this movie doesn’t get a call from Science.
Bruce Davison ladies and gentlemen! Did that lady just call him Captain Mayhem”?!?
When you’re using the CGI budget on helicopters, bad sign.
THEY DIDN’T EVEN CHANGE THE GODDAMN QUEEN MARY SIGN.
Rusty-ass lifeboats on the Titanic II.
Prediction: lots of long tracking shots of Shane Van Dyke, by Shane Van Dyke.
Tons of icebergs in the pacific! And Shane Van Dyke brought whores!
“You’ve met the whores, I presume.”
“Whores, Amy; Amy, Whores.”
Just made a point of explaining away the crappy lifeboats.
None of these people have shaved.
“Passengers” = “People who were free on a Wednesday afternoon in Santa Monica”
First Mate is not allowed to go behind the ropes and touch the actual equipment.
Boy, New York is really warm during iceberg season.
That was a long-ass conversation between SVD and the soft-core porn actress. Shot from a very low angle. Very likely not on an actual boat. Quite possibly they’re not in the same room. Or zip code.
“Tell them to STEER CLEAR OF ICEBERGS!!!”
“Let’s get this cigar smoking.”
Passengers need to be escorted to the lower deck? GET THE NURSES!
“See, there’s a sign on the wall! That says ‘Titanic II’! Because we’re on the Titanic!!! II!!!”
“Get to warm water! HEAD WEST!!!”
That is a roomy-ass submarine. We barely knew them.
800mph Tsunami? Possible?
FOR FUCK SAKES THE ENGINES HAVE NOT BEEN PROPERLY BROKEN IN
The homeliest extras ever are in this movie.
It’s sinking!!! THE MALL IS SINKING!!!! TENS of people will die!
(CAPTAIN, bitter: “Looks like history is repeating itself.”)
SVD gets punched in the face, FINALLY.
Man, this ocean liner’s got a lot of reinforced concrete built into it.
“Everybody hang on tight! We’re deploring!”
That refueling plane sure went up in flames big-time when a lot of water hit it.
Nice socks there, millionaire.
Meanwhile, in another movie, the entire East Coast has been drowned.
She is no Ed Harris.
Special thanks to the Westin Hotel, Long Beach, and the Water Treatment Plant.