Cast: Lisa Russo, Mark Thompson-Ashworth, Silva Belton
Director: Camillo Teti
Writer: Camillo Teti
Estimated Budget: Unknown
U.S. Gross: Unknown
When I say Titanic, what do you think of? Leo and Kate in an emotiogasmic clinch on the ship’s prow? That damn door and how SOMEONE (I’m naming no names here) was a bit of a space-hogger? Maybe you’ve never stepped into a cinema and instead think about all those people that lost their lives on that fateful day in 1913? Well from now on, you’re only going to be thinking about a rapping dog and copyright infringement. Thank me later.
Hop on board the S.S. Citizen Kane of Awful to read about Angelica, a “Cinderella who meets her Prince Charming (Sir William) in an animated retelling of the worst passenger ship disaster in history”. Oh, and there are talking animals. Just like the real Titanic then.
Technically speaking the animation is awful, even for 1999, but it has a certain charm to it. 2D and cel animated for what I suspect were budgetary rather than aesthetic reasons, it is refreshing to see the craftsmanship of an animated film. Then again, is it still refreshing if that craftsmanship is hurried and sloppy? I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
Walks with the animals, talks with the animals
If they’d pitched this as Titanic meets Dr Doolittle they might have had a shot. Inexplicably, in this film all the animals can talk. Hey, it’s animated, anything goes.
They all pitch in to retrieve Angelica’s lost locket, and frankly, the film would be a lot more entertaining if it was just them on this ship with no humans. Best of all is the family of mice that I think is meant to be Russian, but sounds more Jamaican, a tough combination to pull off.
No, I’m not saying that the sinking of The Titanic was a good thing, just that it was done quite well here. And when I say quite well, I mean quite well for an awful animated film.
It jars horribly with the light-hearted tone of the rest of the film, but the actual sinking is quite tense and moving, with plenty of life-saving acts of heroism. To top it all off, this time we get a happy ending and both romantic leads survive. Three cheers for ignoring lifeboat weight limits!
It sounds like it’s being played using a Stylo by a deaf toddler who’s just regained the use of its hands. It’s hilarious.
Angelica’s voice acting
Was Lisa Russo’s big break in children’s TV or something? Her evil female relatives (Hi Disney!) taunt her about her missing parents and she replies with a voice like Drusilla from Buffy presenting Blue Peter. “You’re wrong. I will find her. And my father too. I’ll find them both.”
The disturbing innuendo
At one point Angelica drops her ring and an elderly gentleman returns it to her female companions, saying: “I hope it’s a SMOOTH CROSSING”. Then he raises his eyebrows suggestively three times in a row. How is that dirty? What are you even? This is meant to be a family film!
A shocking indictment of the adoption and fostering process in the early 20th century
And you thought this feature was all fun and games. The colour-coded Dowager Rangers that accompanied Angelica at the beginning have turned out to be her guardian and her guardian’s two daughters. They treat Angelica appallingly, mocking her about her missing parents and putting her down in 3rd class while they swan about in their luxury rooms. Sure, the evil surrogate family is a well-worn trope in family films, but here it’s taken to cartoonish levels, even for an actual cartoon.
Fritz the rapping dog
Fritz the dog saves the family of Russian mice from a cat and then for no discernible reason jumps into a rap explaining how he’s the protector of the animals on this ship – and apparently the streets of Brooklyn. The rap is unintelligible, though I suspect the fact it was translated from the film’s original Italian doesn’t help. More impressively, the sequence is a half-decent pastiche of ‘90s rap videos, complete with a Hype Williams fisheye lens.
The stolen characters
So in 1997 there was this film called Titanic. You may have heard of it.
It featured the young, iceberg-cross’d lovers, Jack and Rose, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, who Sir William and Angelica are definitely not based on. Camillo Teti’s lawyers wanted us to be very clear about that. The fact that Titanic was the biggest blockbuster in history and this film was released shortly after it in no way suggests they were trying to ride James Cameron’s coat tails for a quick buck. No sirree. We’d happily tell you that even if we didn’t have a gun pointed at our heads. I mean, just look at them. No resemblance. None at all.
And these dogs, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen them in any other popular family film. Especially not 101 Dalmatians.
Dumb it down
All in all, Titanic: the Legend Goes On is a relic from the pantheon of films that tread kids like idiots. The villains are rude, barbaric and unredeemable and the heroes are bland, whiter-than-white goody two shoes. The moral grey area is about as big as the Titanic’s chance of a new insurance policy. Thankfully, most family films treat their audiences with a lot more respect.
A disaster film. A cheap, two-bit cash-in lacking the energy to come up with any new characters or ideas other than those in James Cameron’s Titanic. The production values are piss-poor, with lines of dialogue and flashbacks being re-used several times to avoid animating anything new. Watch the dog rapping then tune out, turn off and do something worthwhile.
Star Rating: 1/5
Kane Rating: 2/5
Tune in next time for my most dangerous feature yet as I tempt fate and enrage two of the most popular fanbases in the world by watching either Justin Bieber: Never Say Never or LOL, featuring Miley Cyrus. Kids these days, eh? Vote below and decide my fate.[polldaddy poll=7956787]