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A few words about...™ Raise the Titanic -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About Shout Factory Blu-ray

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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted January 24 2014 - 10:11 AM

I've been a fan of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt novels since the late 1970s.  There are over twenty of them, and while I believe more should come to a theatre near you, the productions thus far haven't proven to be overly successful.  I gave moved away from them in the '90s, when things seemed to become repetitive.


As many of Mr. Cussler's works are built upon an alternate reality, the fact that the Titanic is raised hullus intactus, is permissible.  


An entertaining film, with a some quality effects, it has been released by Shout Factory, one of my favorite indie publishers, and the overall quality of the Blu-ray is quite good.  No problems that I'm seeing.


As photographed by Matthew Leonetti, the Blu-ray hits all the right visual notes.


A decidedly fun film, while certainly not a great one.


Image - 4.5


Audio - 5





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"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Eastmancolor


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Posted January 24 2014 - 11:59 AM

I read Cussler's novel decades ago and found it to be quite suspenseful and well done.  When the film came out I was disappointed with it, but still found much to like.  I especially love John Barry's score.  Though the pacing is a bit off here and there, I never found the film "boring" as most reviewers of the time did.  No patience I guess. 


Personally I had mixed feelings about the blu-ray both with the picture and sound, though it's miles ahead of the junk released to home video previously.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Jacksmyname


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Posted January 26 2014 - 11:57 AM

I also started reading the Dirk Pitt novels back in the '70's. I've now read most of them.

RTT isn't the best of films, but I still like it. Glad it's a decent Blu Ray. On my to buy list.

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted January 27 2014 - 07:29 AM

I wouldn't call it alternative reality since the official line at the time was the Titanic sank in one piece.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   atfree



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Posted January 28 2014 - 06:11 AM

Received and watched this over the weekend. Very good transfer and John Barry's score has never sounded better.


As for the film itself, I saw it when it was released. I had read Cussler's novel in 1976 when I was 13 and became a huge fan, reading all of his Pitt novels since then. I was so excited for the film adaptation and bitterly disappointed when I saw it. So much of the build-up and detective work leading that led to the Titanic was excluded, including a great passage when Seagram visits with Jake Hobart's (one of the original Coloradan miners) 94-year old widow. Also, the Soviet-US confrontation aboard the newly raised Titanic was muted in the film compared to the novel.


Seeing it again, for the first time since it was originally released, still brings disappointment as this could have been a much better film had characters/plot elements been more fully developed. But, I can say I was able to somewhat enjoy this film this time as my expectations were so much lower than when I originally saw it. At the least, thanks to Shout Factory for at least preserving this in HD for posterity.

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#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Patrick H.

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Posted January 30 2014 - 10:50 AM

I watched this last night for the first time ever (I'd been holding out for years for a quality presentation), and I gotta say, I really enjoyed it.  I gather the novel is a far more colorful action/adventure, but I rather appreciated the more restrained "realistic" approach the film took.  The most ridiculous element of it was actually, yes, the raising of the Titanic...the geopolitical stuff was played pretty straight.  In some ways, there are some eerily prescient bits regarding the "Star Wars"-esque defense plan and the deployment of mini-submersibles to find/explore the wreck.  The model footage was all excellent, and at times jaw-droppingly accurate when compared to the imagery of the actual Titanic we all started seeing from the Ballard expeditions 5 years later.  Also rather liked Richard Jordan as Dirk Pitt...he was an interesting, versatile character actor who never quite got his due before his early death.  And that John Barry score is just sublime and truly holds it all together at times...talk about a perfect marriage of movie and composer.  Overall, good pulpy fun, and would make a great double-bill with A Night to Remember!

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#7 of 14 OFFLINE   FoxyMulder



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Posted January 30 2014 - 11:01 AM

I think the music score and Richard Jordan really enhance this film, just wondering what is the aspect ratio for this one. ?


When you watch this one and then view Sahara with Matthew McConaughey, and you have never read any of the books, you wonder to yourself which one is more accurate to the written word, well i know i do, the McConaughey version was supposed to be the start of a new franchise but didn't do much at the box office, i liked it anyways.

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#8 of 14 ONLINE   Reed Grele

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Posted January 30 2014 - 11:03 AM

2.35x1 appears to be correct.

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#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted January 30 2014 - 12:00 PM

It would be very interesting to see Richard Jordan's final work. He was the original antagonist in The Fugitive, and most of the role was complete when he died. The whole part was re-shot with Jeroen Krabbe but it would be great to see Jordan's version, I think it would have worked better because he's a more believable menace but also plays well for the first half when it's still unknown his true nature.
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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Jack P

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Posted January 30 2014 - 12:31 PM

I'll reiterate what I said in the other RTT thread.   The film's negative reputation comes entirely from the fact that the novel was such a success (making Pitt as big a success as Jack Ryan would be a decade later) that audiences who went were mightily disappointed to see a movie that failed to capture the action and suspense of the novel, especially in terms of the confrontations with the Soviets (including a Soviet agent murdering a crewman earlier in the action) and the climactic hurricane boarding.     Also, the character of Dirk Pitt as played by Jordan bears no resemblance at all to the young, dashing, reckless adventurer that Pitt is in the novel.     I'm convinced that the original script adapter, Eric Hughes, who was attached to the project when Stanley Kramer was going to direct, wrote Pitt in a way to accomodate the casting of someone like Steve McQueen, because that earlier script draft gives us a Pitt who is in his 40s, and is an introspective loner who lost a wife and child earlier.     That would have suited a 45 year old Steve McQueen type in the part and if a star like McQueen had played the part that way it might have been accepted by audiences.    But when a slightly modified version of Pitt in this template was then presented with a total film unknown in Richard Jordan, that was a tougher sell.   At the time, Jordan's biggest film role had been as the bad guy in "Logan's Run" and then star of the TV miniseries "Captains And The Kings".    IMO, that just wasn't a strong enough resume to sell him as the embodiment of a signature character of popular fiction.   By the time "Raise The Titanic" came out, it should also be noted that Cussler had written two more blockbuster bestsellers, "Vixen 03" and "Night Probe", the latter of which has Pitt go up against a character meant to be a retired James Bond, which further cemented the notion of Pitt as a big action hero type which Jordan was clearly not playing.


Having a journeyman TV director in Jerry Jameson also didn't help because the character sequences that remain are leadenly directed.    Jameson seems to have gotten the job because he had directed "Airport '77" for line producer William Frye several years earlier and because of the similiarities in some aspects between RTT and that film (There are even several bit players who had been in "Airport '77" who turn up in RTT as well, including M. Emmet Walsh in a part that in the first script draft was supposed to be Pitt's long-time friend and sidekick from the novels, Al Giordino).     A key scene of Anne Archer having a final chat with Pitt aboard the Titanic after it arrives in NY was cut, leaving the whole matter of her character and her relationship with Seagram stick out like a pointless unresolved plot point that goes nowhere.     Also cut was the 1912 prologue showing the sinking and the Brewster character locking himself in the vault (the F/X scenes reused later on the "Voyagers" TV show).    So when you have important points of exposition cut AND poor direction AND a rewritten interpretation of Pitt played by a total unknown AND the watering down of the best elements of Cussler's novel, you've got a recipe for trouble.    


The film's redeeming points remain the John Barry score and the F/X sequences which is why I still recommend it, but it's sad that such a great novel didn't get a proper telling on the screen.   The irony is that a decade later, Jordan would do a terrific job in a supporting role in "The Hunt For Red October" which was a case of the *right* way to bring a popular novel to the screen.


Clive Cussler BTW has a cameo in the film in the Sandecker press conference sequence.   He's the bearded reporter in the group.

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#11 of 14 OFFLINE   theonemacduff


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Posted February 02 2014 - 12:37 PM

I wouldn't call it alternative reality since the official line at the time was the Titanic sank in one piece.

Alternative in the sense that the amazing "element" -- I forget what it is called in the novel, but let's call it "unobtanium" for argument's sake  -- allows, in the novel, for something like a force field to be extended over the polar regions so that incoming Soviet missiles "bounce off" it, performing exactly as force fields do in science fiction. 

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted February 02 2014 - 01:11 PM

Yes, these strange things happen all the time - PT Anderson, Magnolia

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Andretti



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Posted April 01 2014 - 04:48 PM

I've been a huge Cussler fan for years.  As I remember, RTT was the first one of his books I read, but did go back and start at the beginning by reading Pacific Vortex (which, IMO is hands down, the best one of all of his books).  I did see the movie with a huge amount of expectations, to have them all pretty much dashed to pieces.  I read much later RTT was so poorly done, it was why he forbid any more of his novels to be brought to the movie screen for years, until 'Sahara', and tbo, it too pretty much sucked.


Still, glad RTT did get on blueray.  Now that I know its available, I'll be purchasing it for my collection.




#14 of 14 ONLINE   ahollis



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Posted April 01 2014 - 07:39 PM

What I think is such a shame is the two poor experiences Mr Cussler had with making films from his books. They flow so well and cry out to be films that I wish they were. The series could be as popular as the Bond films.
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