Thursday, October 18, 2018

RAISE THE TITANIC (1980)

"It's just laying there! Move, you bastard, move!"

With the popularity of the 1970's disaster phase waning and audiences demanding more fantastic blockbusters (like SUPERMAN, STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE and STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE) what better time was it to sink $40 million into a slow-moving film about the wreckage of the Titanic?!  Keep in mind, the same year's STAR WARS: EPISODE V - THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK only had a budget of $18 million!  Another thing that puzzled me was 1977's all-star AIRPORT '77 (which not only featured a commercial airplane being raised from the ocean floor, but was also directed by Jerry Jameson!) only brought in $30 million...so why would the filmmakers of this film think that retooling basically the same story with even less star power would make more money?!

The entire story behind the making of this movie would be fascinating to hear.  Like...what was the logic behind financing this film?  Looking back on it now, it sounds like a completely insane idea...and it was.  RAISE THE TITANIC cost a reported $40 million to make and only brought in $7 million at the box office.

So, we established that RAISE THE TITANIC was a financial disaster, but is it a good film?

Ehh, not really.  I enjoyed the beginning, but once the story got going it, it quickly became too silly and slow-moving for it's own good.  Long story short: the American government needs a rare mineral (the fictional "byzanium") for a full-proof nationwide missile defense program.  Unfortunately, the only known location of the amount of byzanium needed for the project is in the cargo hold of the Titanic.  Don't ask.  The whole story is ridiculous and only gets more ridiculous when the government decides the best way to retrieve the cases of byzanium is to first locate the Titanic and then raise that big bitch out of Poseidon's underwater sex dungeon and drive it back to New York City.

And if all that wasn't enough: On top of wildly convoluted story (how about instead of a bunch seahorse shit about a government defense program, you just have rich guy who simply wants to raise the Titanic?), there's the exceedingly pointless love triangle between the two men in charge of the program and a female newspaper reporter!  And don't forget about the Russians!  Or Alec Guinness who's listed in the opening credits, but is only on the screen for less than 6 minutes.  The script for this movie is a mind-blowingly wonderful train wreck.  I can't quit thinking about how dumb the whole thing is.

Overall, being a box office bomb doesn't make RAISE THE TITANIC into a bad movie, it's the dumb story, slow pace and poorly written script that make RAISE THE TITANIC a lame movie.  But then again, I pre-ordered the blu-ray, so what the fuck do I know?

Monday, October 8, 2018

SATURN 3 (1980)

Way in the future, Earth is even more fucked up than it is now and depends on food research performed on research stations placed all over the solar system. One such research station is located on Saturn's third moon, Tethys (even though I don't remember it ever being called by name).  It's a small station and for the last three years, it's only been manned by Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett who, despite their age differences, have been banging.  A lot.  So much so, in fact, that haven't been getting enough work done and somebody is being sent to check in on them.  Unfortunately, that person is brutally murdered and then impersonated by the crazy as a shithouse rat Harvey Keitel...who happens to bring along his 8 foot tall robot buddy, Hector.  Also, for some nutty reason, Keitel has been doing mind melding experiments with Hector.  So, yeah, that's right, Hector the robot is also insane.

I love thrillers set in space, so once I figured out what the story was, I got pretty excited...and then disappointed when nothing happened.  Yeah, there's some running around and hiding and a little fighting, but the whole thing is very lightweight.

Mild violence, Harvey Keitel's voice dubbed over for the entire movie (!!!), okay looking sets, lots of smoke, very brief topless moment by Farrah, slow pace, zero gore, a few drops of blood, zero tension, lame ending, mediocre acting, uneven feel to the entire movie.  You'd think that a story about an 8 foot tall killer robot chasing people around isolated building in space would be exciting, but you'd be wrong.

From what I saw on the blu-ray extras and read online, the production of SATURN 3 was a mess.  The original director, John Barry, who also came up with the original idea, was dismissed early during filming and then died soon after!  He was replaced by SINGIN' IN THE RAIN director Stanley Donen (cause, you know, when you wanna cash in on the success of the previous years' horror masterpiece ALIEN...you bring in "the King of the Hollywood musicals").  And to make matters worse, the production was scaled back due to financial difficulties with the production company, ITC Entertainment, who was simultaneously filming the legendary box office bomb RAISE THE TITANIC (it cost $40m and made $7m).  Honestly, I found the making of the film to be way more entertaining than the actual film itself.  I would love to see a well-researched full-length documentary about the making of SATURN 3.