Saturday, August 28, 2010

Titanic II and Vanity: A Movie Review

Director/writer: Shane Van Dyke.

Titanic II is the most recent Asylum release with a DVD date of August 24th. The Asylum, as a production and distribution company, is a little hit and miss with this reviewer. Airline Disaster was good, but Transmorphers and The Terminators were less satisfying. Titanic II does not rise much higher than the latter. This film seems more of an ego project for director, writer, producer and actor Shane Van Dyke than anything else. Almost all objectivity is lost by Van Dyke as he appears in more than 75% of scenes as the world's second greatest martyr (Jesus Christ the first). As well, the use of green screens and CGIed objects really break the reality of a mediocre disaster film.

The premise is ridiculous, but in short a large ice shelf has sunk into the North Atlantic creating a mega-tsunami. This gianormous wave speeds along at "800 mph," (Dread) on a collision course with a newly launched luxury cruiseship dubiously titled the Titanic II. A hundred years after the original sunk, this second ship is doomed to "make history," (Titanic II) on its maiden voyage.

Cliches and melodrama aside, what really becomes apparent is director Van Dyke's deep love for himself and if you do not like him as much as he likes himself then you are not going to love this film much. Van Dyke's character, the millionaire Hayden Walsh, is a mechanical genius, lady's man, scuba diving expert, jet setter, and a budding biologist. Action in the film generally sets up further scenes for Van Dyke's character to the detriment of the other actors in the film. Some viewers will be bored with the constant instances of martyrdom.

There are a few positives in the feature as the action in the scenes creates some excitement and the performance of Bruce Davison (Apt Pupil) is adaptive to the material and thankfully understated. Also, watching several passengers on the Titanic II flop around like a group of beached seals after the iceberg hits is comical and noteworthy. The premise is interesting, but unbelievable and the project is ambitious in nature, which seemed to strain the budget of the picture. However, there are few flaws in the technical production and only one scene with noticeable ADR (audio dialogue replacement).

The use of CGI for helicopters and even the ship itself is well done; yet, the use of a green screen during some North Atlantic shots is unbelievably bad. These scenes are so obviously not taking place in the locale that they are representing that the effects really break the reality of the picture: "action and suspense are constantly hampered by the low budget and the special effects" (Dread). Some of the poor effects of the film are battling with Van Dyke for the most absurd award in the film. Van Dyke shows himself the champion after his momentous, sacrificial death in the final scene.

The Asylum's Titanic II sunk itself at the midway point when the film turned into a star vehicle, while some of the action threatens to make the film a lot of fun. Melodramatic, ambitious, and portraying actresses as no better than arm candy for the male stars, Titanic II is heading for the ocean's floor long before the iceberg hits.

Overall: 5.5 out of 10 (the film gets an automatic 5 out of 10 for not being primarily dubbed, keeping the lights and camera on - however the writing, acting, directing and other film elements mostly hamper the film - -2 for too many scenes involving Van Dyke, -1 for Van Dyke making himself look like the Golden Boy of cinema, -1 for green screen shots, -1 for a few overly dark shots, +.5 for Davison's performance).

The film at The Asylum:

Titanic II at The Asylum

The film's trailer:

Titanic II Trailer Here on 28DLa

A review of the film by the Foy Wonder at Dread Central:

Titanic II at Dread


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