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Titanic (2012 Miniseries)


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#1

Drapers4thWife

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 9:11 PM

I searched but couldn't find a thread for this ITV Julian Fellowes series, which aired on ABC this weekend. Surely I'm not the only one who watched it?

I was impressed at how good it was. I have vague memories of the crappy ABC Titanic miniseries from 15 years ago (starring a pre-fame Catherine Zeta-Jones) so I expected this to be more of the same, but it wasn't. Obviously it didn't have the special effects of Cameron's film, but the smaller scale actually made for a better film, I thought. I really cared about the characters in this Titanic, and seeing the sinking from the perspective of small human drama made it more tragic and immediate than getting lost in a bunch of special effects. Having recently re-read A Night to Remember, it was also interesting to see several details from that book come alive (for example, the men who had to crowd onto the overturned lifeboat and constantly shift their weight to keep it afloat).

#2

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 9:34 PM

I watched it (being a Titanic fan). It was pretty good. I did notice they did get most of it right, including the fact that there was no moon, so that right near the end when the lights went out, it was actually dark and you could barely see the ship sink. I noticed the overturned lifeboat part, too. That's one of the main scenes I recall from 'A night to remember'.

Even though many of the main characters were fictional, I liked the fact that some of the real people they focused on were some of the lesser known ones. Like Guggenheim's mistress (I didn't even know her name until I looked it up several days ago), and Dorothy Gibson. I also think this was the first version that had Jack Thayer (the 16 year old boy) actually have some plot.

I also liked the use of flashbacks. Yesterday during part one, I wondered how they were going to drag out the sinking for another couple of hours, because the ship was almost sunk, and they still had some of the first part and all of part two to go.

All in all, a pretty good re-telling. I may get the DVD if it's not too expensive. (I also have the C. Zeta-Jones one, but only because it was really cheap at Wal-Mart and I collect all things Titanic-related).

#3

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 9:45 PM

This was impressive. Just when I thought there was nothing new to say, people came up with a twist; bully for them. Nice to see Linus Roache's character saved -- better treatment than he's getting on L&O SVU these days for sure.

#4

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 10:48 PM

I searched but couldn't find a thread for this ITV Julian Fellowes series, which aired on ABC this weekend. Surely I'm not the only one who watched it?


I watched as well. I am always on the lookout for anything Titanic related (it is #2 on my list of most interesting historical events, the JFK assassination being #1), and though I had not heard too many good things about this series, I was pleasantly surprised at how well put together it was. Definitely a step above the CBS movie from 1996, which not only featured a pre-fame Catherine Zeta-Jones, but also a pre-fame Barry Pepper, who played wireless operator Harold Bride. And it was definitely above and beyond ABC's previous film about the disaster, 1979's SOS Titanic.

Though I do have to put it below the two PBS specials I saw this week, "The Titanic with Len Goodman", which saw the Dancing with the Stars judge relate tales of the disaster, and the other, called "Saving the Titanic", which was a dramatic recreation of the goings on below decks in the engine room, focusing mostly on the efforts of the electricians and the stokers to keep Titanic working during the sinking.

Still, there was much to recommend here, mostly the performances of all the actors, many I had never seen before. The familiar names, like Toby Jones and Linus Roache, all acquitted themselves nicely. And I was very pleased to see Maria Doyle Kennedy, who I know has gained some fame in recent years with The Tudors and Downton Abbey, but to me will always be Natalie from The Commitments.

All in all, not a bad entry in the genre of Titanic films.

Edited by reggiejax, Apr 15, 2012 @ 10:51 PM.


#5

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 10:57 PM

One thing I was curious about: Why did they show it in a three hour span last night and only one hour tonight? I thought that because it was 3 hours last night, that it would have been 2 tonight. Why not just have two hours one night and two the next? At least they had both parts on consecutive nights. I always hated mini-series or two-part movies that showed one part on, say, Sunday and then didn't show the last part until a couple of days later. Or worse, until the next Sunday. By that time, I'd forgotten what happened so far. (I've learned not to delete anything like that from my DVR until I've seen the whole thing--just in case I have to go back and re-watch something).

#6

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 11:34 PM

I was surprised at how touched I was by Toby Jones' storyline. His wife was such a passive-aggressive bitch at the beginning of the series, but then as the reality of what was happening sunk in she gained her humanity back, and it was nice to see what she and Toby probably had in the beginning of their marriage. The fact that she seemed to realize that all her bitching about not being the right class, not having the right life or enough money was all for nothing - and that she took her nice, loving husband for granted all those years, until it was too late - made her death so much more poignant. I got choked up when they found him almost dead in the water, clinging to her body and he told the woman in the lifeboat that he didn't want to leave his wife, and she replied kindly, "I think she'd understand."

I was also surprised that a series on network TV had the daring to show both the scene where the Irish father and daughter await their death in the stairwell and the scene with the mother drowning while holding her baby.

I liked that they kept in Lady Duff Gordon's actual comment about the nightdress. Reading it, of course it comes across as callous, but seeing it in context, right after seeing the ship go down, it's a real, "WTF, lady?"

Edited by Drapers4thWife, Apr 15, 2012 @ 11:44 PM.


#7

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 1:03 AM

I wasn't that impressed with this. If you don't know the story pretty well (I do but other family members don't) it was just confusing. And tonight really didn't tell us anything new that we didn't see last night. All in all I'd rather see either of the two 1950's movies. They may not be as accurate but they are cohesive and easy to follow.

And why does no one ever mention Violet Jessup? Hers is a very interesting story.

Edited by Willowsmom, Apr 16, 2012 @ 1:04 AM.


#8

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 1:36 AM

I am interested to see that some people did think positively about this mini-series because it lost me after the first hour: I found it confusing to try to keep all the plot lines straight, and there were also significant unexplained jumps in time. In the first hour, they talked about the stop in Ireland, but I don't believe we saw it. And by my count, it had only been a couple of days, not four, when the iceberg hit. I was amazed when that happened so soon. I tried to stick with it in the second hour, but when they rewound time, I gave up. However I did watch the final hour tonight just to see how it wrapped up.

Oh, and I kept trying to figure out who of the large cast of characters were actually historical and who were fiction. For example, the Russian anarchist, real or fiction?

#9

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 1:45 AM

Both. Peter the Painter was a real person, however there is no proof he was anywhere near Titanic. Nor is it commonly accepted that he was.

I would love to see the aftermath rather than to keep re-hashing the sinking.

#10

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 2:09 AM

Thanks Drapers4thWife for creating a thread for this as I looked for one yesterday and again today to see what people thought about it. My feelings were expressed by BethForFreedom as I was so disappointed with this and turned it off in the 2nd hour of the 1st night and deleted it along with removing it from my scheduled recordings for this evening. Was surprised when I read comments here that tonight it was only one hour so I jumped in for the final twenty minutes. Was glad to see that Toby Jones' character survived as he was one of the few that I gave a hoot about when watching on the first night. His wife was a shrew and was just as nasty as when she played Bates' wife in Downton Abbey so I was hoping she wouldn't survive.

LIke /drapers4thWife I found the time jumps so disconcerting which made it hard to follow and the repetition of scenes that we had already seen were ridiculous. Then there were the unending parade of commercials which added to the disconcerting time jumps. Ratings on Saturday night were not good so will be interesting to see if they improved for the final episode. Read that it was a huge rating flop also in the UK.

And the reviews were not kind and rightly so.
http://www.latimes.c...,0,126603.story

and my favorite from the NY Times reflects my feelings
http://tv.nytimes.co...?ref=television

Love these comments...

it’s no surprise that this account of the disaster of the century is an upper deck/lower deck costume drama that could just as easily be called “Downton Shipwreck.”


The earl tries to bridge class boundaries by inviting John Batley (Toby Jones), an employee, to tea, even though the Batleys are not first-class passengers. John is meekly grateful for his boss’s magnanimity, but his wife, Muriel, an Irish former beauty, instead simmers with resentment. Played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, the actress who was the hateful estranged wife of Mr. Bates in “Downton Abbey,” Muriel is just one of several characters who make viewers root for the iceberg


and finally exactly what happened to me...

The end is no surprise, obviously, but by the third episode it’s hard to wonder — or care — who survives and how.



#11

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 3:04 AM

It was a total flop in Britain as well, the producer has actually apologised which I find quite funny, for some reason.
http://www.imediamon...r-poor-ratings/
http://www.guardian....-learned-plunge

#12

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 5:26 AM

I was impressed at how good it was.



Wow, really? I thought it was so terrible, the more I think about it, the more enraged I am. The acting was terrible, I felt no connection to the characters whatsoever - I think I just sat there with my mouth open when the title cards appeared.

I'm not a huge fan of the 1997 blockbuster but I would have gladly paid to go see that than watch this for free.

ETA: I saw someone refer to this as Drownton and it still sends me in the fits laughing every time I think about it.

Edited by Raine, Apr 16, 2012 @ 5:29 AM.


#13

snowflakey

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 8:52 AM

This was such a mess, there were so many characters and miniplots I couldn't get invested in anyone's story. The yo yo'ing of the timeline between each of the many stories just made things more convoluted. The subplots themselves were so contrived, soapy and often times confusing. They tried to cram in as many stories and historical cameos as they could in four hours.

I'm not a big fan of Cameron's movie, but I have a newfound respect for it after watching this.

#14

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 9:24 AM

Wow, maybe I'm just hormonal, but I liked this miniseries. I almost started crying when the electrician and his daughter were huddled together, waiting to die, him telling her that nothing else mattered, he loved her and they were together, so it'd be okay.

Could someone explain the nanny and the boy getting separated from the mother and her other child plot line? The daughter of the Earl commented on it. Was the nanny trying to kidnap the boy?

I loved Drapers4thwife's post.

I agree that someone needs to produce a movie about the aftermath of the sinking. Maybe the following months?

Loved Paolo, the Italian waiter & his brother. Loved, "He'll live."

ETA: Many thanks, Kuranda!

Edited by hoodooznoodooz, Apr 16, 2012 @ 10:19 AM.


#15

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 10:14 AM

The nanny and the baby being separated from the parents and little girl is real. Google "The Allison family" and "Titanic" and you can read the whole thing. A few series have tried to make it a kidnapping or something but in reality it was probably just a lot of confusion and a tragic misunderstanding.

This was mediocre but God help me every time they do Titanic I am there. The one thing I always missed about James Cameron's is that they did not do many of the real stories during the sinking and in the water. I get why, I just wish they had. If one of these producers were really smart and wanted to be original they would do a bio on Officer Lightoller (who ended up surviving on the overturned lifeboat). Look him up, what a life! Titanic was like his third shipwreck.

#16

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 10:23 AM

It had some nice moments, but overall a big disappointment.

The nanny/baby thing: the nanny took the baby and headed for the lifeboats, got separated from the rest of the family. Kidnapping was not a likely motivation, she was just dedicated to taking care of the baby first and foremost. Though she had the chance the mother wouldn't leave without knowing where her baby was, not realizing he was already safe. So other than the baby and nanny, everyone else died.

Allison family

#17

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 10:25 AM

I wasn't crazy about it the first hour but once I got used to the time jumps I really liked it. Did I think it was as good as Cameron's film? No, but it is miles better than the 1998 Zeta-Jones miniseries. My only complaints are that I wish they had showed more of what happened after Titanic. The film has all these characters and the story lines just end sort of abruptly. The love stories were disappointing because none of them panned out. I loved Annie and Paolo and Harry and Georgina were sweet as well. It was also really easy to figure out who would survive and who would die. Lastly, until the last hour it was a bit sexist no? All the female characters except Annie made me wish that more men would survive the sinking than the women.

#18

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 10:28 AM

This miniseries also made me miss the James Cameron movie, even the Jack! Rose! Jack! Rose! dialogue.

What was with Linus Roache's accent? I was a fan of his when he was on Law & Order, and I knew he had to take on an American accent for that. So I expected him to be right at home with a British accent, but it sounded all over the place to me.

There was just no subtlety to any of the stories or characters. We're classist! We're racist! We don't like Catholics! Etc.

Did the Irish mom know that guy previously, or did she just get the hots for him after seeing him?

They did fake me out with the pretty daughter, Georgina? I thought she would be canoodling with the Italian waiter after they looked at each other at dinner.

#19

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 11:02 AM

Did the Irish mom know that guy previously, or did she just get the hots for him after seeing him?


I have no idea, but I do hope someone responds to you with a definitive answer. I thought the whole series was awful but that storyline drove me absolutely BONKERS. I actually gave in and rewatched her scenes to figure it out - I don't know if they were aiming for subtly (it didn't work) or if they genuinely, accidentally left some key pieces of those scenes on the cutting room floor.

#20

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 12:38 PM

And why did pretty little Theresa jump out of the lifeboat and back onto the ship? (one of the Irish children). I assume because she didn't want to leave her father, but then why did she run into a lower level of the ship? If I were the father I would have yelled her, "Why did you do that?!?". (Just like Jack yelling at Rose in the theatrical movie.)

Oh, well. Got my Titanic fix for a while.

#21

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 12:47 PM

Being a huge Titanic fan, I actually loved the way they did this mini-series. I liked the telling of a few select stories from different points in time. And I like that the focus was on class wars and the blame game, unlike the Cameron movie which made it into a love story. I would take this mini-series over that any day.

#22

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 1:31 PM

Did the Irish mom know that guy previously, or did she just get the hots for him after seeing him?


I'm glad I'm not the only one confused by that! And why did he just happen to be wandering through the flooded corridors with a convenient wire suitable for lock-picking exactly when Paolo needed him?

On the plus side, I liked the storytelling technique with the multiple tellings from different viewpoints, the profusion of American accents among the First Class passengers, and the actress playing the plucky stewardess, but as for the rest - the sappy cliched plot lines and cheesy dialog made me long for the by comparison crisp repartee and hard-edged worldview of the Cameron movie.

And why did pretty little Theresa jump out of the lifeboat and back onto the ship? (one of the Irish children).


Because a movie about 1500 people about to drown needs some drama? I was also shocked by the drowning scenes, especially the child in her mother's arms. I wonder how they managed to film that - in one of the underwater shots it looked like that was an actual child. (IMHO, it's not a good sign when the audience is paying more attention to how they did it than to why they did it.)

#23

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 1:40 PM

I could be wrong, but I thought Theresa (the little Irish girl) jumped out of the boat because she was scared of the water. There was a scene earlier where she said to her father that she didn't like all the water under the boat. And he responded that he would be more worried if there wasn't enough water under the boat. (Or something like that.) Then, when she was in the lifeboat with her mother and siblings, she overheard one of the officers (Lightoller, maybe? Or Lowe?) say that they were concerned the boats might split and break apart if they were overloaded. And then she jumped. So I think that was the whole rationale.

Overall, as a Titanic buff, I really didn't like the series much. Too melodramatic and soap opera-like for me. But they did show more of the "real" people on Titanic than Cameron did. Harry Widener -- who was in love with the English daughter -- was indeed real. And I liked that they showed what happened with him and Jack Thayer as the ship was sinking. According to Jack Thayer, they did have a discussion about whether it would be better to jump away from the ship or to slide down the ropes left by the lifeboats in the davits. Jack jumped; Harry slid down the ropes. Jack was the one of the two that lived (on Collapsible B, the lifeboat that floated upside down).

#24

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 3:10 PM

I posted yesterday that I thought that it was pretty good. However, in thinking back about the episodes, I realized that my 'pretty good' meant that I like the parts that focused on real historical people, and didn't care for the plotlines that were about fictional ones. I think that the 1958 film 'A night to remember' has been the only non-documentary Titanic film that focused on historically-real people, and not fictional.

I was also confused about the abruptness of the Irish mom and the 'dangerous stranger'. I thought that maybe the original BBC series had more to it than we saw here in the U.S., and that we had seen an abridged version.

I also wish that they had included Violet Jessup as a character. At first--until she introduced herself--I thought that the woman that Paolo fell in love with (Amy? Annie?) was going to be Violet.

The scenes with the various children at the moment of sinking was kind of suprising to me, too. However, I do remember a scene in the film 'A night to remember' where they showed a little girl standing on deck all alone crying for her parents, which were nowhere to be seen. A man picked her up and he was shown shielding her from the oncoming water and trying to comfort her. I thought that was kind of 'graphic' for that film's era (1958).

#25

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 4:55 PM

I'm glad I'm not the only one confused by that! And why did he just happen to be wandering through the flooded corridors with a convenient wire suitable for lock-picking exactly when Paolo needed him?


He didn't just happen to have a convenient wire. Lady Manton's maid (who gets locked in a stateroom while looking for the book her father gave her.)gave it to him when she tried to have him open a jewelry box. she had stolen a broach and wanted to blame a 3rd class passenger for the loss.

#26

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 5:40 PM

As a fun game, how many of the characters did we actually want to die? I'm not good with names, but I can at least list a few: Lady Manton, her maid, the 1st class lady who wasn't invited to the Italian restaurant and who was the biggest snob on board, and Muriel.

If Muriel's poor husband were a real person, I hope that he would have survived and found a woman who would have really loved and appreciated him, instead of being an insufferable b*tch, like Muriel.

#27

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:12 PM

As a fun game, how many of the characters did we actually want to die? I'm not good with names, but I can at least list a few: Lady Manton, her maid, the 1st class lady who wasn't invited to the Italian restaurant and who was the biggest snob on board, and Muriel.


Totally was hoping Lady Manton would die, perhaps from jumping off the ship, hitting a propeller and flipping over repeatedly all the way down, as we saw one passenger do in Cameron's Titanic. Lady Manton seriously must have been a descendant of Lord and Lady Douchebag, of SNL fame.

I do think the character of Annie Desmond was meant to stand in for Violet Jessup. They likely changed her to "Annie Desmond" so her character could have the romance with the Italian waiter, which is something that is not true of Violet Jessup.

#28

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:18 PM

I was rather annoyed that the fictional Lord Manton survived. But he was a noble, so he had to live -- that would be the Julian Fellowes snob effect. And let us not forget that he got the magic brandy, like Queen Lucy's healing potion in the Narnia novels. It was just mean to kill off the nice Italian waiter. Once that happened, I stopped caring about everyone. I did think that people who were in the water died almost immediately so anyone at all being rescued after some unknown time in the freezing water was fairly implausible for me.

Ha! Drownton!

#29

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:22 PM

As a fun game, how many of the characters did we actually want to die? I'm not good with names, but I can at least list a few: Lady Manton, her maid, the 1st class lady who wasn't invited to the Italian restaurant and who was the biggest snob on board, and Muriel.


I too didn't catch a lot of the names, but I'm totally on board with the spirit of your game. I found myself thinking, "man, most of these people/stories are so cliche and downright ridiculous that I really don't care who survives at this point."

I was excited to watch this miniseries, but overall I felt pretty let down by it. In theory, I really like the idea of telling the story from so many varied perspectives, but I think it's tricky to execute - there were so many storylines, and everything seemed jumbled and rushed.

#30

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 6:26 PM

As I recall, Bubbacat is on the money about Theresa's fear of water being the reason she climbed out of the lifeboat. Although I thought she was old enough to realize the ship was sinking and her chances were better on the lifeboat than on the surely-about-to-sink Titanic. Although I may be looking at that too much from a modern perspective. Maybe girls her age were more innocent/naive back then.

Lady Manton's maid (who gets locked in a stateroom while looking for the book her father gave her.)gave it to him when she tried to have him open a jewelry box. she had stolen a broach and wanted to blame a 3rd class passenger for the loss.

Is that what that was all about?! I was totally baffled, both with the jewelry box and her being locked in a cabin.

I was flipping channels during the first night because three soapy hours was just too much for me. When I saw the flashbacks I thought they had screwed up the broadcast. Then I missed almost all of the last hour because I watched the start of A Night to Remember. Much better film.

Like others, I wish a film would deal with the aftermath, starting with boarding the Carpathia, both with the passengers & crew and surviving family members. I am really rather shocked no one has made such a film.