- Movie Rating -

Raise the Titanic (1980)

| August 1, 1980

Raise the Titanic is a terrific film . . . at least in the 10 minutes in which it is actually fulfilling the promise of the title.  It is kind of amazing to imagine the very ship that has sailed into myth and legend finally unshackled from its watery grave – risen back to the surface through the use of explosives and balloons.  Too bad the other 105 minutes kinda suck. 

The story is based on the book by Clive Cussler who detached himself from the project after executive producer Lord Lew Grade insisted on an army of writers that changed the book’s complex storyline into a dumbed-down talk-fest.  Cussler supposes the reasons for raising the Titanic to be an effort to retrieve some much-needed and very rare weapons-grade materials that were being transported.

This through-line is exhausted in at least two dozen scenes of important men in suits standing around explaining the plot to one another and imparting over and over and over that certain international factions want the material because possessing it would give either superpower a leg-up in the Cold War.  I don’t know why we needed the Titanic for this plot to function, but okay.

Had the movie focused on the actual salvage mission – and the impossible issues within such a plot – the idea of movie really could have amounted to a nicely-paced thriller.  Slimmed down to its essence, it could have worked, but Grade is so Hell-bent on cramming this movie full of The Big International Cast including Jason Robards, Alec Guinness, Richard Jordan and Anne Archer, all of whom are relegated to talking the plot through that the plot loses its potency.  He sank this one to its doom.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1980) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized