• Raise The Titanic

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: January 21st, 2014.
    Director: Jerry Jameson
    Cast: Richard Jordan, Jason Robards, Alec Guinness
    Year: 1980
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Jerry Jameson and based on the novel of the same name by Clive Cussler, 1980’s Raise The Titanic revolves around an American expedition to locate massive stores of Byzantium. Why? So it can be used to power a new project codenamed ‘Sicilian’ created by physicist Doctor Gene Seagram (David Selby). In the event of a nuclear attack, the military could use sonar to deflect any inbound projectiles. It’s widely believed that there are stores of Byzantium in Russian caves but when a spy named Sid Koplin (Stewart Moss) eventually makes his way to where the mineral is purported to be, he comes up empty.

    This is where Dirk Pitt (Richard Jordan) comes in. He knows that there was a sizeable shipment of Byzantium travelling on The Titanic when it sunk to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. If they can get it, they’ll be able to one up the Russians and get ‘Sicilian’ up and running. The only problem is that the wreck is so far below the surface of the ocean that it’s impossible to get down there via submarine.

    He and Admiral James Sandecker (Jason Robards) get the okay from the President of the United States and set out to use all of the resources that the navy has to offer to raise the hull of the Titanic from the ocean floor. Seagram is around to help, and so too is his wife, Dana (Anne Archer), who was once involved with Pitt. Things will get complicated, people will stress out and tension will rise – but will the giant boat on the sea floor?

    A fairly loopy cold war thriller, Raise The Titanic is damned from the start in this day and age simply because technology got to the point where the hull was found, explored and noticeably in pieces. It could not be raised, making the core concept of this movie rather silly. If you can brush that aside and take this as the product of 1980 that it is, however, it’s not bad entertainment at all. The cast are all pretty decent here and Robards and Johnson are both in fine form and a lot of fun to watch. We even get an amusing supporting role from Alec Guinness to enjoy as well.

    The real reason that the movie will be of interest to most, however, is likely the special effects. Obviously this was made long before the advent of CGI and as such, practical effects had to be used in the movie’s final scene where, yes, of course they try to raise the boat in question. What we wind up with is a lot of very cool model work. While you could argue that the work in question isn’t one hundred percent convincing, that’s half the charm of ‘epic’ productions like this in the first place and to the credit of those involved, more often than not the production team is quite successful in creating and maintaining the illusion.


    Raise The Titanic arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. There are some minor compression artifacts and a bit of crush in some of the darker, more shadowy scenes but generally color reproduction looks good even if a few spots look just a tad flat. Skin tones look lifelike and natural and detail and texture, while not mind blowing, are pretty solid. There are no issues with noise reduction or any obvious edge enhancement. This could have probably looked better but as it stands now it looks pretty decent in high definition.

    Audio options are provided in English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo Master Audio, no alternate language options or subtitles are provided. The 5.1 mix does a nice job of spreading around the effects and the score but understandably keeps the dialogue in the front. The 2.0 track sounds more accurate to the movie and the era in which it was made. Both tracks feature properly balanced levels and are free of any hiss or distortion.

    The main extra on the disc is a featurette which interviews the director of photography, the man who handled the underwater photography and some of the guys who were involved in doing the model and effects work for the picture. There are some interesting stories here, though the focus is understandably on the technical side of things, and this is actually quite an interesting watch. Aside from that we get a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    History may not have been so kind to Raise The Titanic but even if it seems wildly inaccurate and ridiculously farfetched by modern standards it makes good use of a talented cast and features some pretty memorable set pieces. It’s got some pacing problems here and there but the good outweighs the bad, at least in terms of impressive visuals and entertainment value.
    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Zane C.'s Avatar
      Zane C. -
      Just watching this now. While it's not perfect, it's better than I remember it being. The special effects, for the time, were great. A shame that more of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt novels weren't adapted for the screen. Didn't Cussler dislike this adaptation?
    1. Zane C.'s Avatar
      Zane C. -
      I'm also thinking this would make a great double feature with GOLIATH AWAITS.
    1. stinty's Avatar
      stinty -
      Clive Cussler apparently has a less than great relationship with Hollywood, hence the lack of book adaptations.I find this movie interesting to watch mainly because of the stories behind the making of it. I do quite like it and I've definately watched worse. I've always liked Richard Jordan from when I first saw him in Logans Run.