When I first heard that a movie named 'Titanic II' existed, I approached the film much the same way I imagine one would view an actual ship with the same name – with trepidation, uncertainty, fear and, most of all, bemusement. How could this possibly exist? Does Jack's lifeless corpse suddenly spring to life after some miraculous rescue, only to sail off with Rose on another Celine Dion-soundtracked adventure? Did Billy Zane not utilize all of his smug faces in the first film? Did James Cameron come up with a better catchphrase to rehash at the Oscars than "I'm the king of the world"?

'Titanic II' is not, in fact, a "sequel" to Cameron's bloated blockbuster, but the work of The Asylum, a Los Angeles-based studio that churns out low-budget, straight-to-DVD, effects-heavy films that are either clever homages or blatant knockoffs of Hollywood blockbusters (depending on your point of view). In a recent feature, Wired described the studio's catalog as "uniformly dreadful films, notable mainly for their stilted dialogue, flimsy-looking sets (which are frequently recycled), and turns by faded stars such as Judd Nelson and C. Thomas Howell ... But in general, the Asylum's films aren't ironic or campy, and they're certainly not parodies. They are actually unnervingly earnest (at least as earnest as a giant-crocodile movie can be) and shrewdly designed to satisfy the predictable cravings of the video rental market."
categories Features, Columns