A folly worthy of its namesake, Lord Grade, its liner sized producer famously remarked that it would have "been cheaper to lower the Atlantic", a feat he could have accomplished simply by jumping into it.
Raise the Titanic(!)is an adaptation of the novel by Clive Cussler. In its transition to the big screen however, most of the intricate cold war plotting didn't make it to the lifeboats. In its stead you have the basic story and of course the bank breaking poster promise of the doomed liner rising from her watery grave. It might have worked too had the source material been handled a little better. The screenplay is pretty talky and never really succeeds in building the necessary tension but what really sinks (sorry) the whole enterprise is direction from Jerry Jameson so moribund and lifeless, you'd think he was helming a movie for cable television. Its a mark of this that although it doesn't take very long to find the ship itself on screen you could be forgiven for thinking that you began watching the movie in 1912. Also RTT! has, for the most part a cut price look that undermines the epic scale of the story and its subject matter. When the ship does eventually see the light of day its via some model work and camera over-cranking that fails in producing that all important wow factor. To be fair though there are some very good shots of the ship entering New York harbour that do pack a punch, aided enormously by one of John Barry's best ever scores - a wonderful bombastic orchestral suite that is as good as hes ever produced. Were this a better film, and had anyone gone to see it Barry may have been in line for an Oscar (which he got when he plagiarised parts of the score for Out of Africa). In fact, its fair to say that Barry is the only person behind the camera who does the story any justice.
Richard Jordan gives a good performance as Cussler's hero Dirk Pitt and there's a nice Cornish Cameo for Alec Guinness but everyone else is really just waiting to die here. The twist is a good one but is handled poorly and you're left wondering what a director like John McTernian who did such good work with Clancy's Hunt for Red October may have made of the same material. Sadly the discovery of the real ship in two pieces has scuppered any remake possibilities so this is it. Raise the Bismarck anyone?
To obtain a supply of a rare mineral, a ship raising operation is conducted for the only known source, the Titanic.
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