Oh momma, it hurts.
OK, so as you might expect, this is a low-budget Italian cartoon smashed out to cash in on the popularity of Cameron’s 1997 Titanic. It has some rough similarities with its progenitor. “Rough” is a good word. Let’s hang on to that one; we’ll be seeing it a lot.
Anyway, there are more Titanic animated features than you might think. In case you want to follow along with my suffering, I am not talking about this one:
I am talking about this one:
OK? All right.
The thing that you notice about this movie pretty quickly is — well, actually, the first thing you notice is that it is pretty shoddily made. A lot of the characters are, shall we say, derivative of other characters in other animated films.
Just for instance.
It’s also got like eight hundred plots. In no particular order:
- A good-hearted waif, the ambiguously British Angelica, is searching for her long-lost mother.
- Her locket, the only heirloom of her mother, goes missing.
- Scoundrel Gaston uses the locket to woo sultry nightclub shantoozy Molly.
- Gold-digger Winnie is looking for a wealthy husband. Bankrupt banker McFlannel seeks a wealthy wife.
- Jewel thief Corynthia Meanstreak (OK, fair enough, that’s a great name) and her bumbling henchmen Kirk and Dirk are seeking a mark.
- Detective Whatsisname is on board pursuing the jewel thieves.
- Ambiguously-British William is travelling to America to seek a cure for his freakishly huge lips, in the company of aforementioned scumbag Gaston and his nanny whatsername, who once, long ago, lost her daughter …
- This one ship’s officer is a knob.
- Angelica and William fall in love, but her wicked stepmother and two ugly stepsisters are running interference.
- A bunch of singing, dancing anthropomorphic animals hang out in the hold.
- The ship hits an iceberg.
Any three of those plots would be enough for a regular film, and the animals one is clearly an entirely different movie.
The main plot, such as it is, is Angelica and William, who spend a lot of time staring at each other in derpy incomprehension:
But it isn’t all longing and panting; there’s also grotesque Barkerian body-horror.
A lot of inexplicable shit happens in this movie. For instance, a dog raps. Twice! It would be bizarrely inappropriate if it were any good, but it’s also unbearably bad, making it … just … I …
Some mice sing a lively mariachi tune.
Gaston, when encountered, is literally twirling his moustache.
When the iceberg hits the ship, for a blissful moment it seems like William will die, but he is saved. When he falls off the ship, by the way, there is straight up a slide-whistle sound effect. Meanwhile, the crew are bailing in the hold. Apparently nobody has the heart to tell them that there’s no point bailing in the hold. (The in-picture commentary in the link pointed this out — I actually wouldn’t have realised this, because I have no idea what that backdrop’s supposed to look like.)
In fact, practically everybody survives the iceberg, which is not really all that big a deal. Winnie and McFlannel die, because she realises she loves him and won’t abandon him, so there’s that. And Molly the singer dies because she stays behind to sing as the band, er, plays on. And I guess they die, but they’re not really characters.
As the lifeboats sail away from the sinking vessel, this great tragedy is immortalised with this shot:
Contemplate that shit. Contemplate it.
If there’s a moral to be gained from this dispiriting exercise, it might be that it’s interesting how historical events turn themselves into stock stories. Given the number of films and things based on the sinking of the Titanic, even prior to the 1997 hit, it was one of those things that was almost a genre of its own, and I think this really shows that — it’s a pastiche of everything from the Cameron film to Cinderella to a sort of Agatha Christie closed-environment mystery, and it seems to be pretty clear that that’s a perfectly obvious thing to do in this film.
It is probably the most upbeat film about over 1,500 people dying I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of films about people dying, now that I think about it.