Titanic: The Legend Goes On (2000)

1.5 out of 10
Titanic: The Legend Goes On is an Italian exploitation film. It is also pretty shocking. Not shocking in the sense of, say, the conclusion of To Be Twenty or pretty much all of Cannibal Holocaust, but jawdroppingly shocking in both its lack of self awareness and in its brass necked ability to rip-off all around it. Indeed, if you believe, as did Universal Studios, that Enzo G. Castellari's The Last Shark was the final word in copyright defying thematic and stylistic appropriation, then, to put it bluntly, you ain't seen the clonetastic Titanic: The Legend Goes On. After all, this film didn't just write the book on rip-offs, it ripped-off the book on rip-offs. That is how much of a rip-off it is. It is the ultimate in rip-offs! As the title suggests, Titanic: The Legend Goes On is a riff on the themes of James Cameron's Titanic. Director Camillo Teti, who's work includes Cobra Mission 2, and has a producer credit for superior Mad Max clone Exterminators of the Year 3000, clearly has this in mind. However Teti seems, here, to show almost no awareness of the fact that Cameron's movie is based upon a real disaster. Titanic: The Legend Goes On is a cartoon, it has songs in it and it is for kids. The film opens upon a lifeboat, to the sounds of the groans and the cries for help of the drowning. The movie then, just like its more famous big brother, goes into flashback. As we see the ship it becomes evident, almost immediately, where all this is going as we are introduced to various mice, dogs, cats, birds and so on and so forth. In this anthropomorphic, cinematic world, the animals talk. There is an on-board romance. However, this one mirrors the one in Titanic. The relationship is between a rich boy and a poor girl. This proves to be little more than an excuse to shoehorn Cinderella into the story. However, the plagiarism doesn't simply end with Cinderella. Or, indeed, Titanic. It also takes a big chunk of An American Tail along for the ride. Worse still, as Titanic: The Legend Goes On is also a musical, it has songs in it. Horrible songs. The main theme, itself, being a sub-CĂ©line Dion big ballad style number. It's rubbish of course. The danger for Titanic: The Legend Goes On was that the viewers may dislike the characters. After all, it is a film that tries to get by on the likeability factor. Indeed, were the film to fail at this, the whole thing would sink. Just like the real ship! So the bad guys needed to be menacing and the good guys cutesy and endearing. This, of course, presented the film-makers with two options. The first option would be to come up with some original characters to fit into the good and bad guy cartoon archetypes. Or, on the other hand, they could simply, ahem, borrow characters... from other films. Unsurprisingly, the latter option was chosen. Indeed, the whole thing looked like it was simply traced from a Disney annual. In this sense, it could be classed as Disneysploitation. Indeed this film probably ripped-off the Disneysploitation book too. So, among a host of familiar faces, you can expect to find a bird that is just like the one from The Rescuers, some dalmatians, a clone of Lady from Lady and the Tramp, a Mexican mouse that is reminiscent of those from the Pat Boone immortalised Speedy Gonzalez, a chipmunk like one out of Chip n Dale, a Cruella de Vil and a cat like Lucifer from Cinderella etc.... They have adventures, they engage in some hi-jinx, they have a slapstick moment or two, they do something schmaltzy and so on. Eventually though, in a sop to historical accuracy, the ship sinks. On this sad note the film leaves the dream sequence. We return, once more, to the lifeboats. The sound of groans and cries for help once more fill the air. Of course, we cannot end the movie here! No siree! This is, after all, supposed to be a fun filled family film. So, a Mexican mouse announces that “we cannot end the movie here!”. The mouse then relates a happy tale of how his various rodent friends manage to survive and go on to live long and fulfilling lives. The families of the victims, including the 53 children that drowned, would no doubt take some comfort in the fact that some of the assorted mice, chipmunks and other Disney clones managed to make it to safety.