In honor of Turkey Day, here’s a repost of the third of my Titanic Turkey series. Originally posted a year after the other two, this one counts down the most ridiculous moments of both animated Titanic movies.
Titanic Turkeys: Top 12 Dumbest Animated Titanic Moments
Originally posted November 17, 2014/3 Comments/in Basic: Animation, Basic: Top Number Lists, BLOGS, Chris Langs Commentaries /by Chris Lang
So a year before this blog post was originally posted, I did reviews of both animated Titanic movies, Titanic: The Legend Goes On, and The Legend of the Titanic. I more or less covered what I felt were the main problems with both movies in those reviews, as I analyzed them both as films on their own merits and as films about the Titanic.
However, there’s a lot of points that, in order to keep the reviews from being too long, I had to leave out or just make brief mention of. At least some of these points, I felt, needed to be elaborated on further. So here’s my Top 12 Dumbest Animated Titanic Moments.
(Oh, and you can read my Titanic Turkeys: Titanic the Legend Goes On review here, and my Titanic Turkeys: The Legend of the Titanic review here).
12: The huge cast of characters in Titanic: The Legend Goes On.
Titanic: The Legend Goes On has a HUGE cast of characters.
Not only do we have the romantic leads of Angelica and William, and their families, but we’ve got Corynthia Meanstreak (however you spell it) the jewel thief/Cruella de Ville knockoff and her Jasper and Horace knockoff henchmen, Sam Bradbury the detective who’s supposed to be pursuing those jewel thieves (but doesn’t really get anything done about them until the epilogue), Molly the singer and her dalmations, the mustached man named Gaston who’s attracted to Molly, the American Tail knockoff immigrant mice, the cat and chihuahua duo who menace them, the Mexican mice, Fritz the dog (and his rapping alter-ego), and a whole bunch of other human and animal characters who are rather forgettable. Some of these characters seem to be in the movie solely because the makers wanted to squeeze in as many knockoffs of other animated characters as possible (in much the manner of the Seltzer-Friedberg so-called parody movies).
As a result, the makers of the film clearly wind up with more characters than they know what to do with. Many of these characters aren’t given enough time to develop and become memorable on their own merits as characters. Some have very little personality to speak of. There are subplots competing for time, and most of them don’t go anywhere.
11. Rachel’s sister in The Legend of the Titanic
Speaking of characters the makers hadn’t a clue what to do with, we have the even more pointless Rachel’s sister from the other animated Titanic movie. Rachel is, of course, Elizabeth’s evil stepmother who wishes Elizabeth to be married to the obviously evil whaling tycoon Everard Maltravers, and later conspires with Maltravers in his insane plan (more on that later).
But along with Rachel comes her sister, who contributes absolutely nothing. She is nothing more than a clone of Rachel, and only speaks twice in the film. Even then, it’s mostly in unison with Rachel. Why is she there? What reason is there for her to exist? Was she part of some subplot that was cut for time? If so, that would explain a lot — including the presence of her and Rachel’s cats who ALSO don’t do anything (despite the mice briefly mentioning that rich people’s pets are mean – they hunt mice for sport instead of for food – so stay away from them).
At least the chihuahua and cat duo in Titanic: The Legend Goes On got to be antagonists in the animals’ subplot. But here, the only antagonists needed are Maltravers, Rachel, and the butler Jeffries. And the gang of sharks (more on them later). Even then, it’s debatable whether or not a Titanic film really needs villains when the iceberg is enough of an antagonist already. But if you’re going to include villains, at LEAST have them do something. Rachel’s sister (as opposed to everyone else mentioned in this paragraph) doesn’t do anything.
10. The repetitive dialogue in Titanic: The Legend Goes On
In addition to questionable animation quality, Titanic: The Legend Goes On also has a lot of redundant and repetitive dialogue. The phrase “We’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean” gets repeated several times, for example. This is especially glaring in the longer version.
The worst would be when, during the sinking, a crewman bars the passengers from rushing the lifeboats saying “You can’t go through here. Don’t make me resort to violence.” over and over again — in the same voice clip. It’s as if he’s a malfunctioning Audio Animatronic or something. Seriously, it’s another sign that the makers of the film just didn’t care, and were only trying to cash in on the then-current Titanic craze.
9. Maltravers’ overly complex plan
So let me get this straight: Maltravers’ plan is to first marry the Duke of Camden’s daughter Elizabeth so he can get whaling rights to areas of the sea that are under the Duke’s protection. When that fails, he and Rachel decide to force the Duke at gunpoint to sign over the whaling rights (as well as a last will and testament leaving his wealth to Rachel), and then sink the ship with the Duke on it.
Apparently, that last part must have been planned a long time in advance, seeing as clearly Maltravers made the alliance with the evil gang of sharks some time prior to the events of the movie. But why go to all this trouble? Weren’t there simpler ways of getting the Duke out of the way (and covering his tracks) that didn’t involve also killing hundreds of people who had nothing to do with the whole whaling deal?
Why? It’s because Maltravers is evil, of course. And speaking of characters who are obviously evil, that brings us to…
8. The evil gang of sharks
Really, an evil gang of sharks. Who have striped hats and prison numbers.
How did the Titanic historians miss THIS detail?
And whose leader is Mr. Ice (aka Icy Incisors, but only in the closing credits), who says he and the boys are ready to destroy anything, any time. It’s at this point that we KNOW the film’s going to be really bad. Forget for a moment that this is a film about the Titanic, this whole thing doesn’t make sense. When did Maltravers form an alliance with a gang of sharks? When did his butler gain the ability to speak to them? WHY DO THESE SHARKS HAVE PRISON HATS AND PRISON NUMBERS? Aaaagh! The Plot Hole is getting bigger as I say this!
Oh, and speaking of plot holes, the opening prologue has the much older Top Connors (who narrates the story to his grandkids) claim he has the whistle Jeffries used to summon Mr. Ice. But it’s never explained when Top Connors got the whistle, nor even how he knew it was used to summon Mr. Ice. Unless, of course, the older Top Connors is making the whole story up. Which might also explain the next item on this list…
7. The “death” of Camembert
Ah, Camembert. This older sailor mouse colleague of Top Connors is introduced fairly early on in the film, but then mostly disappears until he’s needed again in the disaster. Top Connors finds him during the sinking because they need his help to fix the telegraph wires (otherwise the Titanic won’t be able to send the distress call). So they try to put the ends of the wire back together, only to find the wires won’t connect.
But Camembert knows what to do. He tells the other mice to tie the ends of the wires to his mustache, so the telegraph signal will pass through his mustache to the rest of the wire. He does this, and his nose flashes as the signal goes through. It looks like this is being played for cartoonish sight gags … but then Camembert is not moving anymore. The mice are saddened, and Top Connors tearfully calls Camembert a hero.
And then near the end of the movie, Camembert shows up alive and well, with no explanation. He was apparently electrocuted, his body was left behind to sink with the ship (meaning that even if the electricity only stunned him, drowning or hypothermia should have finished him off), and somehow survives all that and is brought to New York by the dolphins and the whales? There’s no explanation for it whatsoever, aside from the makers of the film (or the older Top Connors if you go by the Unreliable Narrator theory) softening things for the sake of the kiddies. If only this were the worst example of that in this movie, but alas it’s not.
Camembert’s miraculous (and unexplained) survival is the stuff motivational posters are made of.
6. The overly cheerful Where Are They Now Epilogue in The Legend Goes On
While we’re on the subject of softening things for the sake of the kiddies, we shouldn’t let the other film get a free pass. Maxie the young immigrant mouse (the one who got saved from being ‘in someone else’s digestion’ early on in the film) breaks the fourth wall at the end of the movie and says “Where are you going? The movie isn’t over yet. Don’t you want to know what happened to everyone?” The fourth-wall breaking part isn’t the dumb part — compared to the other dumb things in that movie alone, it only deserves an honorable (?) mention on this list.
No, the dumb part is the cheerful tone the mouse gives as he describes what the various characters did after the disaster. He describes how Sam Bradbury was rewarded for nabbing Corynthia Meanstreak (even though Bradbury seemed like a hopeless incompetent in most of his scenes), how the mouse and his family were granted a new home in a New York restaurant by the chef whose life they saved, how the stepsisters married Corynthia’s henchmen Kirk and Dirk (who think they’ve got it made, and it gives them something to do with their boss in jail) and how William and Angelica adopted the dalamations and were married. He concludes with “Here’s hoping they live happily ever after. See you soon!”
He barely even mentions the disaster at all, aside from mentioning that the dalmations lost their original owner in it. Aside from that, the sinking of the Titanic and the 1500 or more lives that were lost is just swept under the rug. All in the name of making a Lighter and Softer Titanic movie that the kids could see. It’s insulting to kids, to adults, and to those on board the Titanic. But that’s NOTHING compared to how The Legend of the Titanic handles the disaster.
But we’ll get to that later.
5. The ‘save the whales’ message of the Legend of the Titanic
The Nostalgia Critic made a point of this in his review, but it bears repeating. The Titanic disaster had nothing to do with whales or whaling. But here we have a Titanic film where the main villain is an evil whaling tycoon who will stop at nothing to get exclusive worldwide whaling rights, and will even go so far as to sink the Titanic to do it.
How in the world did they make the connection? How did they think that the story of the Titanic disaster would be a good vehicle for a ‘save the whales’ message? As far as I know, there are no conspiracy theorists out there who blame whalers for the sinking of the Titanic … except for the makers of this movie.
And of course, we get the ending where the whales arrive to save the day, and accompany Tentacles (and the miraculously survived Camembert) to New York, followed by the epiilogue where the older Top Connors tells his grandchildren that “There’ll always be another Everard Maltravers. Their names may change but their evil lives on, and the whales are still being hunted.” This is pretty much the final clinching proof that the Titanic story has been hijacked to promote the filmmakers’ ‘save the whales’ agenda. And again, we have to ask WHY. Couldn’t they have just made a movie about saving the whales without involving the Titanic?
4. The Rapping Dog from Titanic: The Legend Goes On
When making a list of dumb moments in the Animated Titanic movies, this one, I’m sure, has a high spot on everyone’s list, and for good reason. I’ve already mentioned in my review of the movie how bizarre and out of place the rapping dog number is. To reiterate, it involves a genre that didn’t exist back in 1912 and is generally a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
But the real thing that earns it such a high spot on this list is that this is the moment the audience realizes that this movie is NOT going to be a serious and sensitive treatment of the Titanic disaster. And, in fact, this movie’s probably going to be pretty dumb. Up until this point, people may have been giving the film the benefit of a doubt, but at this point we KNOW the movie can’t possibly end up being good. Not after we’ve seen not only a dozen animated knockoffs, but a rapping dog … on the Titanic.
3. Crying on the Dolphin/Magic Moonbeams
This moment is to The Legend of the Titanic what the Rapping Dog is to Titanic: The Legend Goes On. It’s the moment where you realize that this is in no way going to be a serious and sensitive treatment of the Titanic disaster, and that this movie is in fact pretty ridiculous. So Elizabeth, upset over the possibility of marrying Maltravers, goes to the rail of the ship and cries. Her tear hits a dolphin, who tells her that due to the tears being caught in a net of magic moonbeams, Elizabeth can now understand what the dolphins are saying.
This makes just as much sense in context, meaning none at all. Of course, she’s somehow able to pass the ability on to her love interest Don Juan, and they’re able to speak to the mice and Tentacles the octopus, too. Oh, and Jeffries the butler can speak to the sharks. And at the ending celebration, it seems the captain can, too. So just HOW does this whole magic moonbeam thing work again?
Forget it. The makers of the film clearly didn’t care.
2. Tentacles the octopus (just everything about him)
Tentacles the octopus is introduced in the third act of the film, after Jeffries tells Mr. Ice that the ship has to be sunk. So Mr. Ice and his gang of sharks find Tentacles, a good natured and very strong octopus, and trick him into an ice-throwing contest. They trick him into throwing an iceberg into the path of the ship. When the dolphins tell him what’s really going on, he’s horrified and rushes to save the ship.
Now, where do I even START with Tentacles? There are so many things to say about him, so let’s get the minor points out of the way first.
First off, there’s his ridiculous appearance with a cartoonish puppy nose. Secondly, there’s the fact that he doesn’t have a consistent size. When we first see him, he is three times the size of the dolphins and sharks, but a short time later is nearly as big as the Titanic itself. Did he eat an Alice in Wonderland cake or a Super Mario mushroom between scenes? (Why not? It’d make just as much sense as the rest of the movie).
Then, after he talks with Don Juan and Elizabeth (who tells him ‘this all happened because of an evil greedy human being’), he holds his breath before going back underwater. He’s an octopus! He doesn’t need to hold his breath underwater. In fact the first time we SEE him he’s underwater and having no trouble breathing there. (And so The Plot Hole gets even bigger).
And, of course, he holds the ship together just long enough for everyone to escape (more on that below), somehow survives being crushed by the weight of the ship, shows up in New York harbor alive and well, is called a hero, and somehow isn’t mentioned in any newspaper accounts. (He also inspires the title of the sequel – I’m still debating with myself whether to even TRY reviewing that bit of insanity).
But of course, the number one Dumbest Animated Titanic Moment is … you guessed it.
1. Everybody survives in The Legend of The Titanic
Yes, I already went into this in my review of the film, but it bears repeating. Unlike bad fanfics like ‘Seven Years Later’ (the ‘fix fic’ of the James Cameron film that has Jack Dawson somehow survive the events of the movie) which are written by a single person in their spare time, this was a film that had money thrown at it. People were PAID to write it, animate it, compose a musical score for it, and so on. At least someone in the process HAD to know what they were doing. The existence of a film like this baffles me far more than the existence of a bad fanfic.
Seriously, what were they thinking when they decided to have EVERYONE survive in The Legend of the Titanic? And I pretty much mean it. History tells us that the band went down with the ship (allegedly one of their last songs was ‘Nearer My God To Thee’), and that the captain also didn’t survive it. Yet here we see the band make it to the lifeboats, followed by Tentacles plucking the captain from the sinking ship and placing him on the back of a dolphin. And then we get the scene in New York Harbor, where Tentacles, the dolphins, the whales, and so on show up at New York Harbor, where the captain calls Tentacles a hero and apparently can now understand what the animals are saying too.
And of course, Tentacles and Camembert are alive, too, as are ‘the other missing people’. Talk about going WAY overboard in softening things up for the kiddies.
The Nostalgia Critic said it best: “It’s insulting to history, it’s insulting to children’s intelligence, it’s insulting to the people who DIED”. And yes, in the real Titanic disaster, people died. Over 1,500 people lost their lives in the North Atlantic on that fateful night to remember (and yes, that’s a deliberate reference to a BETTER movie about the Titanic that I recommend you see to wash the bad taste out of your mouth after this).
And really, what’s the point in sugarcoating it? Any kid who might be interested in seeing a movie about the Titanic most likely KNOWS that lots of people died in the sinking, and will certainly feel insulted by a movie that tries to claim that “the truth of the matter is those missing people were never really missing. It’s all a misunderstanding”. In fact, I’m sure even kids who know nothing about the Titanic would feel talked down to by this movie. Seriously, kids KNOW that people die in wars (therefore there’s no need to have even the nameless expendable mooks escape planes via parachutes in the old 80’s G.I. Joe cartoons), and they KNOW that it’s extremely unlikely that EVERYONE would make it out alive in a disaster on the scale of the Titanic. Granted, they don’t need to SEE all the details, but even keeping it offscreen is less insulting than trying to pretend it didn’t happen.
And yes, there’s also the fact that this film (unlike the James Cameron film and Titanic: The Legend Goes On) actually has its villains be responsible for the disaster. Say what you will about the inclusion of villains in those other films, but at least they knew better than to try to claim an evil whaling tycoon working with a gang of sharks sank the Titanic. In the real world, the Titanic hit an iceberg due to a tragic accident, and that’s all there is to it. I’m sure kids can understand that, too.
Well, that’s it for this countdown. And for now, at least, this wraps up my Titanic Turkeys series. I still haven’t decided whether or not I’ll do a review of the sequel to Legend of the Titanic (titled Tentacolino, aka Search For the Titanic). I’ve also thought of writing a ‘fix fic’ I have in mind where the older Stella tells the grandkids the REAL story that Top Connors didn’t want to tell them (since Stella’s telling the grandkids not to take him too seriously implies that the older Top Connors is an Unreliable Narrator who may have changed many of the details). There might also be other badly-done takes on the Titanic that I’m not aware of yet.
For now, though, I wrote this as a way of resolving unfinished business from the previous reviews.
Let me know what you think. Feel free to leave comments below.
When originally posted, this blog received the following comments.
November 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm
Why was this movie made . . . why. Awesome job on this.
November 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm
Well, I go into this at the start of my first Titanic Turkeys article on Titanic: The Legend Goes On, but I think it’s obvious the reason both films were made was to cash in on the success of James Cameron’s Titanic. A better question is: Why were they made the WAY they were made? Why did not one, but TWO Italian creators of animated films think they could do a Lighter and Softer telling of the Titanic story? And why didn’t someone in the process tell them that the Titanic disaster was a real event and therefore they should handle it with care and respect instead of just thinking it’s a fairy tale and thus good material for a cash-in imitation of a hit movie?
So far, I’ve yet to hear any good answers to these questions.
Feel free to leave your comments below.