Titanic II or: what a $500,000 budget and a Van Dyke triple-threating gets you

It isn’t hard to look at 2010’s Titanic II and laugh. There’s a level of narcism to releasing a movie about a doomed ship called the “Titanic II” while knowing that someone, somewhere, will assume it’s a sequel to James Cameron’s 90’s staple Titanic. That narcism made this a hard enough pill to swallow for me, but it was the lacking cast, minuscule budget and insistence on telling this story straight-faced as opposed to as a comedy that made this one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. And not in an objective, this movie doesn’t know what it’s doing, kind of way. This movie was actively a slog for me to watch. With an hour and a half run-time, you’d be better suited watching half of Camerons classic film on an old 1939 television. And those things had a one inch screen for crying out loud! You wanna know what the resolution was on those old TV’s? Three. Like, yeah. Just three. Three by, I don’t know, three.

Titanic II follows the maiden voyage of an exact replica of the original Titanic. Everything on this ship aside from the mechanical/safety aspects of this ship are 1:1 with the original. The ship is portrayed in this movie via a re-dressed ship known as the Queen Mary, and via one of the lowest polygon CGI models of a boat that I’ve ever seen. You remember the CGI characters in Lawnmower Man? Those were more complex than the ship in this movie.

And look, if it was one low-poly ship I had to worry about, that’d be fine. But it isn’t! This movie also happens to have the worst green screen work that I’ve ever seen. It’s… astoundingly bad. The green screen in this movie, and the reliance on it for the movies Antarctic locations, isn’t endearing. It’s jarring, and it takes you out of the paper-thin plot. But, writer, actor and director Shane Van Dyke (Grandson of the legendary Dick Van Dyke) seemingly insisted on using it as much as he did, as opposed to re-tooling the story or tone of the picture to fit what he had available to him. What resulted from this is a film that looks like/has the premise of a rushed SNL sketch but refuses to shoot for anything short of trying to be the next Die Hard. You know, if the Germans in that movie were blocks of ice or something.

I think I’d be singing a slightly different song about this movie if Van Dyke was able to string together a strong cast or some decent performances but alas, he did not. In fact, I’m kinda convinced Titanic II didn’t have a director. It was just another block of ice. Everything about this movie is like a block of ice. None of the characters try to deliver their dialogue with anything even resembling rhythm or emotion. And I get where they’re coming from here; this is some of the weakest/blandest dialogue I’ve ever had to sit through. For reference, The Room had more realistic and interesting dialogue. At the very least, The Room‘s rambling dialogue about betrayal and Lisa’s mother having cancer was memorable!

Let’s just nip this in the bud right here. This movie, Titanic II, makes me feel gross. It makes me feel a little dirty with how cynically it had to have been made. And I have no doubt that Shane Van Dyke knew he wasn’t making anything memorable here. This film had a budget of $500,000 and it looks like most of that was spent on hair product for the films principal cast. I genuinely wish this movie was fake, that it was some kind of hoax or collective fever dream we all had in the wake of Avatar’s success and it’s revitalization of Camerons career. But as it stands, this movie is just a really bad mockbuster. Probably one of the worst of all time, for what it’s worth. And that’s saying something, given how bad that genre can get.

So don’t watch it. Just don’t. If you wanna exposure yourself to more of this flop, just watch some reviews of the movie on YouTube (or check out our podcast episode on the movie, which is available below and on your favorite podcast player.)

I mean, Titanic II? What’s next, sequels to other Leonardo DiCaprio movies? Wolf of Wallstreet 2: Electric Boogaloo? Catch Me If You Can 2 Fast 2 Furious? Inception 2: Judgement Day?

Honestly, I’d watch those in a heartbeat. Get on it, movie people.

Listen to Media Obscura on your favorite podcast player through this nifty link or through our full video version of the episode on YouTube!

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