Titanic II: Looks Like History’s Repeating Itself
Countless bits of pop-apocrypha cling (like wailing, frost-bitten, doomed wretches) to the myth and meaning of the RMS Titanic. Vengeful Egyptian mummies in the cargo hold. Captain Smith saving a baby before floating off into the night. Stiff-upper-lippy musicians stoically playing Nearer my God to Thee as the ship went down. Most potent and enduring of all, however, is that whole "God himself could not sink her!" business (which has been attributed to everyone from a disastrously cocky deckhand, to bullish tabloids, to Billy Zane).
It's all about human hubris, you see. With the Titanic basically being a giant floating sign that read (in 882-foot-long letters) "God is shit! And humans are totes brilliant! Yah! Boo!". Cue an ominous rumbling sound in the heavens as a gargantuan can of whupass is opened.
So if Titanic is all about cocksure, preening arrogance (or *barf* the eternal persistence of love), then Shane Van Dyke's shit-tastic Titanic II1 must (surely) be about mega-uber-hubris. Hubris Ultra Plus.
Well, yes. And, no. And, I wasn't really paying that much attention as it was poo. But I do recall Shane (a smug playboy shipping magnate who gets his comeuppance big time) making a speech to commemorate the maiden voyage of the rebuilt (what were they thinking?!) Titanic II, in which he says something like this:
"This ship will help us triumph over the mistakes of the past".
Take that history. Of course, what Shane had forgotten (the grinning tosser) was….global warming. A sort of unnamed (alluded to) terror that starts collapsing massive ice-sheets in Greenland (or somewhere), thus causing mega-giganto-super-tsunamis. Mega-giganto-super-tsunamis that are (*gasp*) heading straight for the Titanic II!2 The tsunamis are also set to annihilate the entire Atlantic seaboards of various nations but nobody seems to give a toss about that because the grizzled ol' veteran chief-coastguard's daughter is (*gasp* *gasp*) serving as a medic on Titanic II.3
To add spice to proceedings (if mega-giganto-super-tsunamis aren't enough for you) she and Shane used to be an item. Before he became all super-rich and narcissistic and horrible and stuff. Forcing us to endure a penniless-man's bootleg version of the DiCaprio/Winslet lurve-fest from Titanic (or, Titanic I, as James Cameron is now hilariously forced to call it).
In a bootleg reprisal of the "King of the World" thingy, Shane and pound-shop-Kate stand at the peak of the ship (its nose, or stern, or pointy bit or whatever you call it) and exchange dialogue so banal it almost becomes transcendent.
Shane: You still have those earrings I gave you.
Pound-shop-Kate: Yeah. Well, I have a lot of earrings.
The punch the air moment comes when the engines give out, and the ship is fucked (thanks to Shane's "Make it go 50 knots!" hubris), and a second (even bigger) mega-giganto-super-tsunami is on the way and the Captain turns to a chastened Van Dyke and says:
"Looks Like history's repeating itself"
Yeah! God wins again. Or something.
- The "premiere" of which we've just endured on the SyFy channel (or whatever it's calling itself these days). [back]
- The ship really is called the Titanic II. I couldn't stop laughing at this. [back]
- I like saying "Titanic II". A lot. [back]
August 11, 2010