It is the year 1912 and in Southampton, Britain’s greatest vessel known as the RMS Titanic is awaiting passengers so it can sail them to New York. Among the passengers include Angelica, a lower class girl who works as a servant to her step mother and sisters, and hopes of searching for her parents. Another passenger is William, an upper class business man, travelling with his nanny to build up his company in America. Both man and woman fall in love, but not everyone approves of them being together because of their social class, but with the help of a group of animals travelling with them, they might be together, but one can only hope that will be true as the great Atlantic cruiser is about to meet with disaster.
In 1997, James Cameron’s multimillion dollar romantic epic, Titanic, was released to eager film goers. The film eventually won many awards including the Best Picture Academy Award and becoming the highest grossing film of all time, a record held by the film for over 10 years. Not long after its release, a group of small animation production teams in Italy attempted to cash in on the blockbuster by making their own animated films. As far as it is known, there were only three films in this category that had a proper release, and one of them was this one, written and directed by Camillio Teti. Not much is known from it as information on its production only remain as rumours and its release information is so vague and limited that people actually wondered if the film even existed. From what I gathered, it was a low-budget production done by a small team of Italian animators called Titanic Cartoons, and were forced to draw characters in the likes to Disney and Don Bluth characters so they can attract children and marketed it in some countries as simply “Titanic” in the hopes that people would mistake it for the real thing. While IMDB shows it had a supposed theatrical release in Germany in July 2001, it mainly had a limited DVD release in Europe. The film didn’t really have any recognition until the Nostalgia Critic from ThatGuywiththeGlasses.com, reviewed the film on March 24th 2009.
To put it simply, the animation is awful and incredibly lazy. Believe me, almost every corner cutting trick is pulled in this film to make it seem longer: reusing animation, repeating scenes, speeding up and slowing down the video, random CGI, among others. The character designs look really weird, as their outlines look really shaky and almost every person’s lips look really thick, like they are always pouted. I normally try to find good points in a film so they can balance against the bad points, but for animation alone I can’t find any good points at all. I can’t even say the animation is consistent, as some points the character designs change randomly and some scenes have a glaringly noticeable change in the art design, which is more shaded than normal.
What surprised me the first time I saw this film was that it began with a beautifully done piano piece, that’s simple but melodramatic and very well recorded. It’s one of a few moments where the music is really effective to its scene and it’s probably the only thing in this film that is anywhere close to good, so to give credit where it’s due, some of the music is really good. However that doesn’t help this film in any way, not only because of how bad the other factors of the film overweigh this point, but because it’s only some of the time. The rest of the music ranges from really bland to terrible, as the rest of the compositions aren’t memorable or really engaging, and the songs in this film sound awful and poorly written, with the exception of the song “Never Let Me Go”, but since it’s an uninspired copy of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” it’s not worth listening to. One song people seem to remember is Party Time, where a dog suddenly appears in street clothes and raps while on the Titanic, and I wish I made that up. The sound editing in the later part of the film is really bad, and it’s really confusing.
The voice acting is very dull, but that isn’t very surprising since the cast is full of small time voice actors, in fact the biggest actor in the cast is Gregory Snegoff, who was a VA in quite a few anime dubs, but is mostly recognised as the English voice of Scott Bernard in Tastsunoko’s Robotech franchise, so if you understood that then you would be interested in his performance, if he wasn’t the rapping dog. Most of the other cast portray themselves as generic stereotypes, and they don’t really put much effort into their performances, and none are really memorable. It’s like they aren’t taking this film seriously, however with the quality of the film and its dialogue, I don’t think any effort would save this film.
For the good points, despite how terrible it is as an animated film, Titanic: The Legend Goes On isn’t the worst Titanic film in comparison to the other two animated Titanic films, but we can save them for another review. The film does have some recognition of how bad the Titanic disaster was, such as panicking passengers, the dramatic atmosphere, and they do imply that people died, but since this is a kid’s film so Camillio Teti toned down the dramatic elements, and make it predictable that there would be a good ending. Other than that it feels like a poor man’s version of James Cameron’s Titanic, all the way down to a locket being one of the plot points of the film, the only real unique twist, beside the almost pointless side plot involving a group of would be jewel thieves, is that the genders of the main protagonists in the romance are swapped from poor man and rich woman to poor woman and rich man. What it adds to make it different from the much bigger Titanic film is simply weak and overused child humour, with cartoon animals, slapstick and really goofy moments, and there are much better films that do that.
If there was any reason you should see this film, it should be to see how awful it is. It is much better off as a teaching tool on how not to make an animated film, or animation in general. It’s even hard to view it as a film that’s entertaining because it’s so bad, what it calls entertainment has been done better in several other films, it could’ve been entertaining if the production team tried to make its own film, instead of trying to cash in on something. The only good things I can say is that I like some of the music and out of all the other Titanic films, it could’ve been worse.
Titanic: The Legend Goes On, is available from Third Millennium Distributions. Since it had a very limited release, DVD copies are hard to find, however it was rereleased on film collection DVDs from Prism Leisure that are sold at newsagents and can be found very cheap if you can find them. Camilio Teti still works in animation, although the last film he’s done, “Yo-Rhad, un Amico dallo Spazio” (Yo-Rhad: A Friend from Space), was released back in 2006, and hasn’t been aired outside Italy, and there’s no English language version as far as I know.