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DVD ReviewsRating: 3 of 5 yaps

Titanic

The biggest problem with the new iTV “Titanic” miniseries is that it’s about the Titanic. It’s a weird concept because the reason we’re looking into the lives of these random people is because they were part of this international disaster. However, we know the basic structure of the Titanic adventure: Unsinkable ship travels across the Atlantic, hits an iceberg and sinks.

There are more people who can tell us plenty of information about the people on board and the politics, but that is the basic story. Because James Cameron only focused on a few people in his three-hour epic, the BBC decided to make its own three-hour epic to cover more stories beyond two horny kids who don’t know how to share a plank.

They got the best guy to write it. Julian Fellowes is the man behind the Oscar-nominated “Gosford Park” and the beloved TV series “Downton Abbey.” In fact “Abbey” starts the day after the Titanic disaster, which kickstarts the plot for the whole show. Fellowes’ touch is evident throughout all of it as he jumps between the classes where they show the people traveling and the ones working on the ship.

The cast is filled with very competent British actors, including Toby Jones, who is furious whenever there is something filming in England to which he’s not invited, and Jenna-Louise Coleman, who is the upcoming “Doctor Who” companion. All of the characters are curious but never that compelling beyond the fun actors playing them.

It’s just hard to care enough. All of the talk about the safety of the ship and the dialogue about how “This will never, ever, ever, ever, ever sink” feels like heavy foreshadowing, for nobody is riding the Titanic for a place to live. It’s a transitional moment for most of their lives. They talk about their future and what they will do once they get to America.

The dramatic irony can only go so far. It’s even more difficult when the miniseries is non-linear. In every episode, they follow a handful of characters, disaster strikes and then they start over again. What do they want to accomplish by constantly reminding you that the characters you’re interested in are doomed?

Yet Fellowes crafts some very nice dialogue, and the miniseries looks beautiful—especially on Blu-ray. But that’s not enough when you’re trying to capture what was going on during one of the most talked-about tragedies, and the end result is so inconsequential.

The DVD and Blu-ray has a nice package with all four episodes. There is a commentary track for the first episode and plenty of featurettes, including some great ones about how they made the miniseries and what went wrong with the Titanic itself.

Miniseries: 3 Yaps
Extras: 4 Yaps

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